Barcelona vs. Sporting CP
UEFA Champions League, Group D
Date: 5th December 2017
Time: 7:45 pm GMT
Venue: Camp Nou(Barcelona)
Barcelona host desperate Sporting Lisbon at the Camp Nou this Tuesday in the final round of Champions League Group D.
Match Preview: Barcelona Vs. Sporting CP
A do-or-die match for Sporting Lisbon awaits in Barcelona where the host will be playing the ‘nothing to lose’ match against the team battling for their continuity in the Champions League in the final game of the group stage.
Barcelona shared a point with Juventus in Turin in their last Champions League outing, and that means the Catalan giants are through to the last 16 without even playing the final group game. Ernesto Valverde’s team will advance as a group winner even if they lose this game against Sporting at home. Barcelona have 11 points from five matches, and Juventus have eight from the same number of matches. A defeat for Barcelona and a win for Juventus in the final game will tally the points, but Barcelona will still pip out Juve on a head-to-head Superiority.
Despite playing a home draw on the weekend with Celta, Barcelona still lead the La Liga table and are unbeaten this season. Having been already qualified and a crucial trip to Villareal in the league approaching after that, Barca are expected not to expense a lot of energy on Sporting this Tuesday.
Similarly, the away team, Sporting Lisbon are also unbeaten in the league this season, and they occupy the second position in Primeira Liga with same points as league leaders, Porto. Jorge Jesus’ men are in a subtle form, they have four wins in their last five matches with one draw, but only maximum points from their final group game in Camp Nou against the mighty Barcelona will see them advance to the next stage also if Juventus should drop points on their trip to Olympiacos.
Surprisingly, Sporting CP have the most lethal attack in the group in terms of goals but question mark should be raised on their shaky defense. The initial fixture between these two in this Season’s Champions League saw Sporting slipped to a narrow defeat at home thanks to an unfortunate own goal by Sebastian Coates. Certainly, it should not be termed as an impossible task for the Portuguese team against a crisis Barca team playing for nothing worthy of a result.
Possible starting lineup: Barcelona Vs. Sporting CP
Injury problem is getting worse for Barcelona now. Barcelona did not only drop points against Celta on the weekend they also lost their vital defender, Samuel Umtiti to injury for at least a month. With Mascherano already sidelined, Ernesto Valverde has to do with out-of-form Pique and Injury-man, Vermaelen at the back for some period. Dembele and Rafinha are still out, but the return of Roberto boosts Barcelona.
Possible Barcelona’s starting lineup against Sporting
Goalkeeper: Ter Stegen
Defenders: Roberto(R), Pique(M), Vermaelen(M), Alba(L)
Midfielders: Rakitic(R), Busquets(M), Iniesta(L)
Forwards: Alcacer(R), Suarez(M), Messi(L)
Return of Argentine Marcos Acuna has Jorge Jesus delighted. Also, there are no immediate injury concerns or suspensions for Sporting.
Sporting CP’s possible starting lineup against Barcelona
Defenders: Piccini(L), Mathieu(M), Coates(M), Pinto(R)
Midfielders: Battaglia(L), Fernandez(M), Carvalho(R)
Forwards: Cesar(L), Dost(M), Acuna(R)
Prediction: Barcelona vs. Sporting CP
Despite preserving their unbeaten streak, Barcelona haven’t been convincing lately amid their defensive crisis. Whereas, Sporting are playing as their potential under Jorge Jesus, but still they tend to crack down in crucial matches like that against Juventus, Braga, and Porto in the previous month.
Considering, Barca’s injury concerns and the worth of the game for them, a draw can be on the cards. Our prediction, Barcelona 1-1 Sporting CP.