Barcelona extended their winning run to three matches following a dramatic 3-2 victory over Valencia at the Mestalla during the weekend and although not entirely convincing, the Catalans seem to be getting the job done.
Now Barcelona turn their attention towards matters in the Copa Del Rey and they square off against local rivals Espanyol on Tuesday night.
It is widely expected that manager Luis Enrique will be fielding a second string squad during the encounter and strange as it may sound, Barcelona could well be heading into the clash against the experienced Espanyol as the underdogs.
Here is the strongest possible Barcelona lineup for the clash against Espanyol –
Marc-Andre ter Stegen is set to be handed a well deserved rest for the clash and with Jasper Cillessen out injured, Jordi Masip will be the man starting between the sticks for Barcelona during the encounter on Tuesday.
Masip has not made a single appearance this season and he will surely be looking forward to the opportunity of proving himself to manager Luis Enrique.
The likes of Javier Mascherano, Lucas Digne, Sergio Roberto and Samuel Umtiti did not train ahead of the match while Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Aleix Vidal remain ruled out due to injuries.
As a result, Jeremy Mathieu is the only senior defender likely to be featuring during the clash and the Frenchman is likely to be partnered by the young trio of Nili, Sergi Palencia and Marlon in the backline.
Jose Antonio Martinez has been impressive for Barcelona B this season and he will be competing for a place in the start as well.
In comparison to the defence, Barcelona’s midfield is likely to be a lot more experienced as the likes of Denis Suarez, Andre Gomez and Arda Turan are expected to start at the middle of the park.
The trio are all top class players in their own right and they will surely need to perform to their best in order for Barcelona to be able to claim the three points on the night.
In the absence of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Paco Alcacer is expected to be leading the line for Barcelona and the duo of Rafa Mujica and Jesus Alfaro should complete the three pronged attack.
While the youngsters will be looking to impress, the onus will be on the more experienced Alcacer to prove his worth to the fans following a slow start to life in Barcelona.