Should Valverde leave Pique and Umtiti out against Leganes?


La Liga is back on Saturday as Barcelona head to Leganes and ahead of the clash Ernesto Valverde has plenty of decisions to make.

Perhaps most importantly is who to play in central defence. Barca’s defence has been superb this season, conceding just four goals in 11 Liga games, but it has come at a cost.

Both Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique are on four yellow cards, one more and they will incur an automatic one-match ban. After Leganes is the small matter of a trip to Mestalla to take on second-placed Valencia.


FC Barcelona v Olympiakos Piraeus - UEFA Champions League

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Valencia have been formidable this season and there is no way Valverde will want to make that trip without Umtiti or Pique, or both, so will he risk either against Leganes?

Or will he go with his strongest side and hope that Umtiti and Pique can come through unscathed?

The conservative option would be to rest one or both and bring in either Javier Mascherano or Thomas Vermaelen, or indeed both of them.

It seems unlikely Valverde will leave both out, but certainly you could understand his thinking if Umtiti were to sit this one out.

Along with Lionel Messi and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Umtiti has been superb this season and if he were to play against Leganes and get booked, it would be a massive blow.

So too Pique, the Spain international has been inconsistent in this campaign, but looked good last time out against Sevilla and was unlucky not to score too.


FC Barcelona v Chapecoense - Joan Gamper Trophy

Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Leganes have enjoyed a decent start, but it’s worth noting they have hardly been prolific this season and have only managed nine goals in 11 games.

Mascherano seems the obvious choice to come in, he’s already made five La Liga starts this season, while Vermaelen has only featured in the Copa del Rey.

The Belgian has, however, spoken of his frustration at not being able to leave in search of minutes, perhaps it’s time to hand him some first-team action?

Let us know your thoughts! Who should play in defence against Leganes? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!



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