BARCELONA, Spain (Sporting Alert) — Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi all start for Barcelona in today’s Spanish La Liga clash with Espanyol at Camp Nou.
The trio will make up the attack for Barca, which will be looking for a victory to keep tabs on the front two teams from Madrid, who both won their respective fixtures on Saturday.
Neymar will play on the left, Messi will start on the right, but is expected to roam in his free role, while Suarez will operate through the middle as he seeks goals to justify his big-money move this summer.
Experienced midfielder Xavi starts again and will captain the team, while Andres Iniesta, who played in the Copa del Rey in midweek, is named amongst the substitutes.
Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic both start in the midfield, while Javier Mascherano will partner Gerard Pique in the heart of the backline.
Claudio Bravo starts in goal, as Marc-Andre ter Stegen is named to the bench.
Barcelona are third in the La Liga points standings with 31 points, but a victory would see them leapfrog defending champions Atletico Madrid into the second place.
Sergio Garcia is amongst the starters today for the visiting Espanyol, who are sitting 12th in the La Liga table with 14 points.
According to OptaJose: “Barcelona have won more games against Espanyol than any other side in their league history (91).”
Barcelona XI: Bravo, Alba, Dani Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Busquets, Rakitic, Xavi, Messi, Neymar, Suarez.
Espanyol XI: Casilla, Arbilla, Bailly, Fuentes, Gonzalez, Canas, Lucas, Sanchez, Sevilla, Caicedo, Garcia.