TEAM NEWS: Cesc replaces Lionel Messi for Barcelona, while Guardiola leaves Puyol on the bench

In the absence of the suspended No. 10, Pep Guardiola has opted for a front three of Pedro, Cesc and Cuenca, while Clemente rotates his attackers
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, who has no Lionel Messi after the Argentine picked up a fifth yellow card against Atletico Madrid last weekend, has opted for an attacking trio of Pedro, Cesc Fabregas and Isaac Cuenca against Sporting Gijon on Saturday, as his side hope to move to within seven points of fierce rivals Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.

With Barca welcoming a struggling Sporting side, Guardiola has also opted to rest Carles Puyol and Alexis Sanchez, who both played in midweek internationals. There are starts for Adriano, who replaces the injured Eric Abidal, while Seydou Keita comes in for the suspended Sergio Busquets.

Sporting, meanwhile, opt for a defensive formation, with five starting across the back as they look to take something from their trip to Camp Nou. Miguel de las Cuevas starts alongside Formose Mendy and Ayoze who both came on off the bench in the 1-1 draw against Racing, while David Barral and Adrian Colunga drop out of the starting XI.

Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano; Xavi, Keita, Iniesta; Pedro, Cesc, Cuenca

Substitutes: Pinto; Puyol, Muniesa, Dos Santos, Sergi Roberto, Tello, Alexis

Sporting Gijon (5-2-2-1): Juan Pablo; Damian, Orfila, Galvez, Botia, Canella; Andre Castro, Nacho Cases; Mendy, De las Cuevas; Ayoze

Substitutues: Cuellar; Carmelo, Eguren, Trejo, Barral, Rivera, Gregory