Which players have the best chances to feature in the Supercopa match?
- Roberto is still suspended while Umtiti and Rakitic have just returned from their extended holidays
- Two La Masia gems could get their first-team debuts
Barcelona face Sevilla in the surprise one-legged Spanish Supercopa match on Sunday night. The game will take place at the Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier, Morocco. The kick-off is scheduled for 10 pm CET. Blaugrana boss Ernesto Valverde would hope to start the new season with a bang, however, some of his key players won't be available due to their extended holidays following the World Cup exploits.
As per the goalkeeping position, it's going to be a real battle between Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jasper Cillesen. The Dutchman completed more minutes during the summer's US-tour while the German is looking forward to entering the pitch after crashing out of the World Cup group stages. Last year it was Ter Stegen who get the nod.
The defence is expected to be formed by Nelson Semedo at right-back; Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique in the centre and Jordi Alba at left-back. Sergi Roberto is suspended following his lashing out at Marcelo back in May, while Samuel Umtiti was granted extra rest after his spectacular performance at the World Cup.
The midfield position is currently the best covered by the Catalans. Freshly appointed vice-captain Sergio Busquets is expected to start alongside the newcomer Arthur and Rafinha. For the elder Brazilian, this match could be an opportunity to either prove himself as a Blaugrana player or to attract potential buyers as his future is still unresolved.
Tomorrow Rafinha will start and deservedly so, I just hope that Arthur and Malcom start aswell. They deserve it from the preseason.— Mascherano (@MascheranoStats) August 11, 2018
Meanwhile, Ivan Rakitic should be probably rested as he has just returned from the extended holidays. Philippe Coutinho hasn't trained as much as needed and isn't expected to start either. Luckily for the Brazilian, he has finally obtained the Portuguese citizenship and could thus free a much-needed place reserved for the non-EU players.
Finally, the lethal duo of Leo Messi and Luis Suarez will most definitely start up front. Who is going to accompany them? The newcomer Malcom has impressed a lot during the US-tour while Ousmane Dembele cut his vacations short to regain form ahead of the Supercopa match.
With all due respect to Malcom, he's nothing compared to Dembele, What makes the club think he's a better fit for us— Kamran (@ikamran_) August 11, 2018
Valverde would also be happy to give two La Masia gems Riqui Puig and Juan Miranda their first-team debuts. The duo has impressed during the US-tour and could be used as backups in midfield and left-back respectively. Extremely talented Puig, dubbed as the new Iniesta, has earned some praise from Diario Sport writer Javier Giraldo: 'he is great at playing between the lines, has the vision and drive'.
With two days to go until the Super Cup vs. Sevilla, Riqui Puig & Miranda still training with the first team. Valverde very much shown his cards with those two this week.— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) August 10, 2018
Who do you want to see against Sevilla on Sunday?