Barcelona have already announced the 18 man squad that will be available for selection today against Manchester City today and there is one surprise inclusion in that very list. Barcelona's last choice right back Aleix Vidal has been included in the list.
The defender has had issues with Lusi Enrique in recent weeks because of which he was frozen out of the team. He did not even make the squad for their previous game despite Barcelona short on defensive options in important positions.
But now it looks like he has been forgiven by the manager and will be available for selection even if he doesn’t feature in the starting XI. The Catalans currently sit pretty on top of the group with manchester City in second.
The game is a momentous occasion because of the return of the man who revolutionized football in Catalonia Pep Guardiola. He has already faced Messi and co once before as Bayern Munich manager but was unsuccessful against them,
Manchester City haven’t got the rub of the green in recent years in the Champions League and have often come up against the Barcelona in the knockout stages. The have been pitted in a tough group also been labeled as the ‘group of death’ in the Champions League.
City won their first game quite comfortable against Borussia Monchengladbach at home but then dropped points against Celtic away from home. Now they play an in-form Barca side in back to back matches which could decide if they qualify from the group.
Barcelona have Lionel Messi available and in form after his goal against Deportivo during the weekend. He should start this game after only coming on as a substitute last time out. Here is the 21 – man squad selected by Barcelona:
GK: Ter Stegen, Masip
Defenders: Masip, Piqué, Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Digne, S. Roberto, Aleix Vidal, Umtiti, Mathieu
Midfielders: I. Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Denis Suárez, Arda Turan, Iniesta, Rafinha, André Gomes
Forwards: Luis Suárez Messi Neymar Jr, Paco Alcácer
Both Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto are back from injury and will probably start in the full-back positions. Enrique is expected to revert back to his 4-3-3 formation now that they are back after his somewhat experimental back three.
Samuel Umtiti is also available for selection and it will be interesting to see if he starts in the center of defense alongside Pique instead of Mascherano or Mathieu. Both have not been conniving at the back and Umtiti might give them more solidarity.