Champions League Preview: Spartak Moscow - Barcelona
The Russians' coach Unai Emery, who has not had the greatest record against the Blaugrana, will have his work cut out here with a number key players missing for their crucial game.
By Craig Turnbull
Makeev, Bryzgalov, Suchy, Kombarov
Jurado, Ari, Gorbatenko
Alves, Puyol, Pique, Alba
Fabregas, Iniesta, Xavi
Pedro, Messi, Villa
Spartak Moscow has an injury crisis ahead of its crunch match with Group G table-topper Barcelona.
The Russians have a goalkeeping dilemma, with third-choice Artem Rebrov now also ruled out having suffered an injury in Unai Emery's men's 1-1 draw with Volga at the weekend. He now joins Andriy Dikan and Sergei Pesyakov on the sidelines.
Also missing for the home side is strikers Artem Dzyuba and Welliton while skipper Sergei Parshivlyuk, Russia international Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Brazil midfielder Romulo and Republic of Ireland winger Aiden McGeady are unavailable.
Argentine defender Nicolas Pareja is suspended for the bottom of the table side which needs a good result here to have any chance of reaching the knockout stages.
Meanwhile, Tito Vilanova will be looking for a response from his Barcelona team after falling to a shock 2-1 defeat to Celtic on Matchday 4.
The Catalans welcomed back Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol at the weekend where the Blaugrana disposed of Zaragoza 3-1 and it would be surprising if the pair did not start in the Russian capital.
One defender who is definitely ruled out is 21-year-old Marc Bartra, while attacker Alexis Sanchez is missing for up to four weeks after returning from international duty with Chile injured.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Spartak Moscow coach Unai Emery has the unenviable record against Barcelona having not won in his last 14 attempts versus the visitors.
- The home team's 2-1 victory over Benfica on Matchday 4 was just its second win in 16 attempts at home in the Group stages.
- The club's record in the last 12 home games against Spanish opposition reads W3 D6 L3.
- Barcelona's Lionel Messi (pictured, right) is now just seven behind Gerd Muller's record of most goals in a calender year, having scored a double against Zaragoza at the weekend which takes his tally to 78.
- The Argentina international is the fourth top goalscorer in Champions League history behind Andriy Shevchenko, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Raul.
- The Catalan giants with their win on Saturday equaled Real Madrid's 1991-92 record of 34 points from a possible 36 in La Liga - the best ever start to a Primera Division campaign.
Top 3 Predictions
Spartak 1-3 Barcelona
- 20.4 %
Spartak 0-3 Barcelona
- 12.43 %
Spartak 1-4 Barcelona
- 8.78 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 20, 2012||Spartak 0 - Barcelona 3|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Sep 19, 2012||Barcelona 3 - Spartak 2|
|Dec 7, 2013||Rostov 1 - Spartak 0||RUS1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Spartak 6 - Volgar-Gazprom Astrakhan 1||RUS1|
|Nov 23, 2013||CSKA Moscow 1 - Spartak 0||RUS1|
|Nov 10, 2013||Spartak 4 - Zenit 2||RUS1|
|Nov 3, 2013||Spartak 1 - Lokomotiv Moscow 3||RUS1|
|-||Juan Manuel Insaurralde||Defender|
|20||Demy de Zeeuw||Midfielder|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|12||Jonathan Dos Santos||Midfielder|