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Just two weeks ago, FC Barcelona held a nine-point lead over second-placed Atlético Madrid yet three consecutive league defeats has seen the side from the capital draw level in the standings with just the head-to-head rule keeping the Catalans on top.
Therefore, there can be no margin for error in the side’s trip to face Deportivo La Coruña on Wednesday with the chasing pack ready to pounce.
Despite Depor sitting in 13th place, Luis Enrique’s side cannot afford to take their hosts lightly as, in the last two meetings between the sides, the Galicians have come back from two goals behind to earn 2-2 draws.
Eighteen players are in the squad for Wednesday's game: goalkeepers Claudio Bravo and Marc-André Ter Stegen and players Douglas, Rakitic, Busquets, Alves, Arda, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Neymar Jr, Rafinha, Mascherano, Bartra, Munir, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto and Adriano.
Arda Turan missed Tuesday’s training session through gastritis but has recovered for Wednesday’s match. Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen are injured while Gerard Pique is suspended.
The home side welcomes back winger Fede Cartabia after the Argentine missed the recent 1-1 draw against Sevilla with a back strain. However, Oriol Riera, who scored the equalizer against the Andalusians is a big doubt after damaging his left ankle, leaving him unable to train on Tuesday.
Former Barça B man Luis Alberto is certain to miss out with a muscle problem while centre-backs Alejandro Arribas and Alberto Lopo are suspended.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday about the upcoming game, Luis Enrique said: "Winning away is always difficult and even more so in our situation, but we will try to exploit weaknesses of a team that defends very well”.
Deportivo took a big step towards mainting their place in La Liga for next season with their draw at Sevilla, yet manager Victor said that “to be practically safe does not guarantee survival,” before adding: “Every point is crucial and we always intend to put up a fight”.
With no win in the last four league matches and three defeats on the bounce, Barça are experiencing their worst run since Luis Enrique took over in the summer 2014.
Depor occupied sixth place in La Liga going into the Christmas break but, with just one win in 17 league outings, the Galicians have fallen to 13th spot in the table.
Depor have clawed their way back from 2-0 down in the teams' last two meetings to earn a draw, the first of which came on the last day of the 2014-15 season which secured their top flight status.
Both of those surprise points came at Camp Nou. However, at the Riazor, Barça have come away with all three points from their last four visits.
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