Barcelona - Sporting Gijon Preview: Messi suspended as Catalan giants welcome Javier Clemente's side to Camp Nou
The Argentine maestro has picked up five yellow cards this season and misses the match as Pep Guardiola's side attempt to maintain their pursuit of Real Madrid
By Martin Macdonald
Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano
Xavi, Keita, Iniesta
Alexis, Cesc, Pedro
Lora, Botia, Gregory, Canella
Carmelo, Castro, Cuevas
The main concern for Barcelona is the absence of Lionel Messi due to suspension after the Argentine picked up his fifth yellow card this season and will miss the match at Camp Nou. Sergio Busquets will also miss the match as a result of a ban.
Pep Guardiola also has some injury problems going into the match. Eric Abidal and Thiago both returned from international duty having picked up problems; the Frenchman is out for 10 days due to a hip concern and the young Spaniard suffered an knock to his right tibia. David Villa and Ibrahim Afellay are long-term absentees and will also miss the match.
Javier Clemente will be missing Adrian Colunga for the match as the striker has been suffering from thigh and groin pains, and will be out for three weeks.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Barcelona and Sporting have met each other 40 times in Barcelona in La Liga. Barca have won 35 times, Sporting only once.
- Lionel Messi is suspended for the match. The last time the Catalans lost a match without Messi making an appearance was in a 1-0 defeat against Osasuna at Camp Nou in May 2009.
- Barcelona have scored 131 goals in 44 official matches this season. The Catalans have 16 matches remaining this season to break the club record for most goals, which is 158 in 62 matches in 2008-09.
- Javier Clemente's side, along with Real Zaragoza, have conceded the most goals in La Liga this season (45).
- Sporting’s last win against the Catalans was on September 4, 1994 in a 2-1 victory at home.
- Sporting Gijon suffered their biggest ever La Liga defeat against Barcelona, on 10 February 1952 (9-0 at Camp Nou).
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Top 3 Predictions
Barcelona 5-0 Sporting de Gijón
- 16.28 %
Barcelona 3-0 Sporting de Gijón
- 15.56 %
Barcelona 4-0 Sporting de Gijón
- 12.79 %
|La Liga (LIGA)||3 Mar 2012||Barcelona 3 - Sporting de Gijón 1|
|La Liga (LIGA)||2 Oct 2011||Sporting de Gijón 0 - Barcelona 1|
|La Liga (LIGA)||12 Feb 2011||Sporting de Gijón 1 - Barcelona 1|
|La Liga (LIGA)||22 Sep 2010||Barcelona 1 - Sporting de Gijón 0|
|La Liga (LIGA)||30 Jan 2010||Sporting de Gijón 0 - Barcelona 1|
|8 Mar 2014||Valladolid 1 - Barcelona 0||LIGA|
|2 Mar 2014||Barcelona 4 - UD Almería 1||LIGA|
|22 Feb 2014||Real Sociedad 3 - Barcelona 1||LIGA|
|18 Feb 2014||Manchester City 0 - Barcelona 2||UCL|
|15 Feb 2014||Barcelona 6 - Rayo Vallecano 0||LIGA|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|12||Jonathan Dos Santos||Midfielder|
|8||De las Cuevas||Midfielder|
The playmaking ability of Xavi will be needed a lot more in this match due to the absence of Messi. He will need to dictate the game and create opportunities for the unfamiliar strike force. Expect him to be the driving force of Barcelona's play.
David Barral is Sporting's top goalscorer this season with eight goals. He should attempt to get in and about the Barcelona defence as much as he can to attempt to force a mistake, as it as likely his team will not see much of the ball during the match.
The absence of Lionel Messi will certainly have a detrimental affect on Barcelona. However, they have been outstanding at Camp Nou this season and should have the quality to dispatch of a struggling Sporting side, even without the prolific Argentine.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed