What’s the story?
Barcelona have been handed a triple injury boost ahead of the quarter-final tie against Juventus, as the trio of Arda Turan, Javier Mascherano and Jérémy Mathieu returned to training. Barcelona’s website ahead of the game confirmed, “In warm sunshine, the first-team squad was joined on the Tito Vilanova field by Carles Aleñá of Barça B as they finalised plans for what they are hoping will be another night to remember in the No Camp," the report read.
“Javier Mascherano, Arda Turan and Jeremy Mathieu, all of whom have had fitness problems of varying degrees over the last few days, were able to train normally with the squad”, it said.
In case you didn’t know..
There were detailed reports in Spanish outlet Marca that seven Barcelona players could miss the second leg through injury. The players who missed training were Arda Turan, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Jeremy Mathieu and Javier Mascherano in addition to long-term absentees Aleix Vidal and Rafinha.
It was widely believed that Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets would return in time, but the trio of Arda Turan, Javier Mascherano, and Jérémy Mathieu were reportedly out from this game and even the El Clasico scheduled on the weekend.
The heart of the matter
Jeremy Mathieu was poor for Barcelona against Juventus in the first leg, and the Italians targeted the Frenchman playing on the left of the back three. He was taken off during half-time and it is unlikely he will start the game, but he can now be called upon from the bench, just in case one of the defenders get injured during the game.
Arda Turan can be a valuable addition to the squad, he offers something very different from all the other midfielders in the Barcelona squad. But, having been out for the best part of a month it is unlikely that the Turkish international will start.
Javier Mascherano’s is undoubtedly a huge boost, as they now have their first choice back three. Boy do they need it.
Barcelona’s best performances in the League and Champions League in 2017 have been with the 3-4-3 formation. With Mascherano back, they can play that formation, and now they just need to overturn a three-goal deficit.
Arda Turan's industry and Javier Mascherano’s steel will both be important for Barcelona if they have to overturn the three-goal deficit tonight. However, that sounds extremely unlikely against a solid Juventus back-line.Published 19 Apr 2017, 10:59 IST