FC Barcelona were left disappointed as their Anoeta curse continued with a 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad which left them six points behind leaders and rivals Real Madrid. The Catalans have a great chance to get back on track this weekend as they play Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the season.
Luis Enrique's side have been given a major boost ahead of Saturday's showdown as Andres Iniesta is expected to be fit for the much-awaited encounter and is set to start for Barcelona.
The midfield maestro has been out of action since the last month when he got injured in the game against Valencia. He suffered knee ligament damage at the Mestalla and was earlier expected to miss 14 games including the El Clasico and the clash against Granada.
The Spaniard, who has been training with the team this week, posted a number of photos on Twitter to reassure fans of the fact that he will be available for selection against their bitter rivals.
Reports also suggested that Luis Enrique wanted the Barcelona captain to feature in their Copa Del Rey clash against Hercules to give Iniesta some match time before the biggest game of the season. The manager, however, was later informed by the club officials that the Spanish veteran was suspended for their cup game as a result of the suspension he received in last year's final against Sevilla.
Luis Enrique confirmed that he will be available for selection for the game. He said, “Andres is waiting for medical clearance but it's more of a formality really. He is training with us and looks in great condition. He won't be playing Wednesday because he is suspended, but we are just waiting on confirmation [for El Clasico]. But in theory he is selectable.”
Barcelona have suffered without Iniesta's presence in midfield and results have not gone according to plan for Luis Enrique. This has been the Catalans’ worst start to a league campaign since Frank Rijkaard was in charge and even a draw against Real Madrid would harm their chances. Along with Iniesta, Samuel Umtiti is also expected to be in the reckoning with a final decision on him to be taken on Friday or Saturday.
Gerard Pique was also classified to be a doubt for the El Clasico after he played with an ankle problem against Sociedad. He did not train with the team for the past couple of days but he reaffirmed that he will play on Saturday as the defender is set to join the squad for training on Thursday after giving enough rest to his ankle. Pique recently received the 'Catalan of the Year' award and reflected that Barcelona have more stakes on the line than Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the 2016-17 season.
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