Barca will be without Lionel Messi as they try to shrug off Copa del Rey controversy in Sunday’s La Liga clash against Leganes Camp Nou
Barcelona can turn their attentions back to La Liga on Sunday after successfully progressing in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, thanks to a 3-0 win over Levante at Camp Nou.
Leganes are next up for Ernesto Valverde’s side, who command a two-point advantage over Atletico Madrid at the summit of the standings, having played one game fewer.
They are expected to stretch that back to five points against opponents who are only three points clear of the relegation zone – though will have to do it without Lionel Messi.
|Game||Barcelona vs Leganes|
|Date||Sunday, January 20|
|Time||8.30pm GMT / 3.30pm ET|
|Stream (US only)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|NBCSN||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be streamed live on Eleven Sports One.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|N/A||Eleven Sports One|
|Goalkeepers||Ter Stegen, Cillessen|
|Defenders||Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Miranda, Gonzalez, Chumi|
|Midfielders||Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal, Denis Suarez, Arthur, Alena|
|Forwards||Messi, Suarez, Coutinho, Dembele, Munir, Malcom|
Samuel Umtiti remains the foremost injury problem for Ernesto Valverde, who is without Rafinho and Sergi Samper, but Thomas Vermaelan is fit to start
Ousmane Dembele retains his spot in attack alongside Luis Suarez, but there is no Lionel Messi or Ivan Rakitic so Arthur Melo and Carles Alena start.
Barcelona starting XI: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Vermaelen, Alba; Alena, Busquets, Coutinho; Arthur, Suarez, Dembele
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|Goalkeepers||Lunin, Cuellar, Serantes|
|Defenders||Siovas, Omeruo, Dos Santos, Tarin, Silva, Nyom, Juanfran|
|Midfielders||Oscar, Recio, Vesga, Gumbau, Eraso|
|Forwards||Arnaiz, Merino, Ojeda, El Zhar, Braithwaite, Santos, En-Nesyri|
Leganes were hit with severe injury problems before beating Real Madrid in midweek and those issues have not eased much since.
Midfielders Alexander Szymanowski and Ruben Perez are the most notable absentees, but they are also bereft of attackers Guido Carrillo and Diego Rolan, meaning the midweek matchwinner Martin Braithwaite will start once more.
Ezequiel Munoz is struggling to be fit in the defence and Unai Bustinza, who would typically fill in, is banned.
Leganes starting XI: Cueller; Nyom, Tarin, Omeruo, Siovas, Silva; Oscar, Vesga, Recio, En-Nesyri; Braithwaite
Barcelona can be backed at 1/6 to win with bet365. A draw is priced at 7/1, while Leganes are 16/1 to cause a major upset.
Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more .
Barcelona’s progress to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey has been mired in controversy, despite a thumping 3-0 success over Levante in midweek.
Two goals from Ousmane Dembele and another from Lionel Messi gave them a resounding midweek success, though it was the 2-1 loss a week earlier that fell under scrutiny as their opponents claimed they had fielded an ineligible player in the form of Chumi, who should have been banned.
The Spanish FA (RFEF) ultimately threw out the claims of their opponents but head coach Ernesto Valverde was still forced to step in and voice a defence of the club.
“We acted correctly,” he affirmed. “If you look at the competition rules we did nothing wrong. Some people may interpret the rules a different way.
“It needs to be made clear – not for the person who is writing the rules but for the people who are reading it.”
More pressing for Barca, though, is a fixture against opponents who shocked them 2-1 in September.
“We played very badly,” he remembered. “It was good during the week and we all had the feeling that we were going to win it but in a minute they scored two goals.
“We have to learn from that. For us it is essential to get the points and start the second round of the season well.”
Leganes, meanwhile, come into this encounter heartened by a 1-0 win over Real Madrid in midweek, although it was insufficient to knockout the capital giants from the Copa del Rey.
An organised defensive side, they will hope to disarm Barcelona with their direct approach, which they have already shown this season can get the better of even the biggest teams.