Barcelona host Deportivo La Coruna with the visitors needing all three points to be absolutely certain of La Liga football next season.Just two points, one goal and one place in the table separate the Galicians from third-bottom Eibar who host bottom-placedCordoba at the Ipurua Stadium.
Depor will no doubt be thankful that Barca have already secured the title with their victory at Atletico Madrid, and while no one is suggesting the Catalans will do their relegation-threatened opponents any favours, clearly their focus won’t be the same as it would have been had they too still needed the points.
Luis Enrique will have the perfect opportunity to rest most of his first team in preparation for their upcoming Copa Del Rey final date, but as he did against Cordoba, he may choose to play a full-strength XI to keep the tempo and intensity at the level required.
|Barcelona||Deportivo La Coruna|
|W 1-0 vs. Atletico Madrid||W 2-0 vs. Levante|
|L 2-3 vs. Bayern Munich||D 1-1 vs. Athletic Club|
|W 2-0 vs. Real Sociedad||D 1-1 vs. Villarreal|
|W 3-0 vs. Bayern Munich||L 0-4 vs. Elche|
|W 8-0 vs. Cordoba
||D 1-1 vs. Malaga|
|W 6-0 vs. Getafe||L 1-2 vs. Atletico Madrid
Barcelona can treat this one as a training exercise if they wish, but the party atmosphere in and around Camp Nou will soon turn sour if the visitors execute a stunning smash-and-grab.
To that end, we can expect that Luis Enrique probably won’t take any chances and will name a full-strength XI.
Ex-Barca B player Oriol Riera will want to impress on another return to his footballing roots, but he will have to play the game of his life to get any change from Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique.
Luisinho and Diogo Salomao will patrol the flanks, and the former can certainly trouble Dani Alves if given the opportunity.
Supporting those three, Lucas Perez will be looking to replicate his contribution against Levante where he assisted in both goals. His ability to break up Barca’s play in its early stages will be key to Depor recycling possession quickly and effectively.
Alex Bergantinos and Celso Borges have the unenviable task of tracking the runs of Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic, and we may find Borges in particular pushed up a little higher by his manager to cut off the supply line to the front three at source.
Sidnei and Alberto Lopo provide a fearsome wall in front of Fabricio, and both will be up for the fight. If they’re able to stop Luis Suarez, then it will be down to their wide players to keep Barca at bay.
Lionel Messi and Neymar will use their considerable skill sets to bamboozle Laure and Manuel Pablo, and with both defenders in particularly poor form at the moment, Depor’s hopes of keeping their goal difference respectable could take a hammering.
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Strange to pick a goalkeeper for this one, but Fabricio could well end up becoming the key man for the visitors.
As Depor have clawed back some points over the last few games to give themselves hope of the drop, so Fabricio’s stock has risen.
Although Atletico Madrid took the points at the Riazor, his performance was outstanding. There was little that the ‘keeper could do about either of Antoine Griezmann’s goals.
However, against an expected onslaught as Barca’s front three go for a La Liga goalscoring record, he needs to provide a similar level of excellence.
Luis Suarez will be fit again to take his place back in the front three, but as a precaution he shouldn’t try too hard to please in what is, frankly, a meaningless fixture for the Catalans now.
The Uruguayan will need to be on his guard against the physical presence of Sidnei, however. The defender doesn’t suffer fools gladly and will certainly not want to be embarrassed in the final game of the season.
Suarez is known to dislike the attentions of defenders who come too close, and Victor Sanchez is sure to instruct his centre-back to get right in the face of Barca’s No. 9.
Sidnei will need to be tracked if he wishes to roam forward, which he did to good effect when assisting Oriol Riera against Atleti.
The following pre-match odds are available, on Sportpesa.com
Home Win: 1.23
Away Win: 9.67
Credits: Bleacher Report.