Montoya against BATE Borissov. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ.

Josep Guardiola will be forced to replace Dani Alves and Javier Mascherano, both suspended, ahead of Barça’s next league match against Valencia at the Camp Nou this weekend. The manager will either have to call up reserve players or reshuffle his first-team line-up in order to fill the centre back and right back positions.

Right back

Under Guardiola, Carles Puyol has taken up the task of stepping in the right back position from time to time. The absence of Mascherano, however, could force the manager to keep the captain in the middle and instead opt to send Adriano Correia out wide. It’s worth noting that the Brazilian is still recovering from injury. Guardiola’s third option is to call up Martín Montoya. The youngster is a pure right back, he’s a regular feature in Eusebio’s line-ups, and he’s played and scored for the first team this season.

The two centre backs

Carles Puyol and Gerard Piqué are the only true first-team centre backs at Guardiola’s disposal against Valencia. In the event that one of the two don’t line-up in the middle of the defence, the manager could call on the reserve team’s Bartra and Muniesa. The coach could also use Éric Abidal or Sergio Busquets to fill the possible gap in the middle.

Left back

It looks as though Abidal will be the man to defend Barça’s left flank. If Guardiola decides to use him in the middle, however, Adriano or Muniesa could replace the Frenchman out wide.

Tactical change

On Matchday 1, Barça played against Villarreal with a makeshift defence; Guardiola only had Mascherano and Abidal at his disposal. The manager sent his men out in a 3-4-3 formation, moving Busquets back and positioning the Argentine and the Frenchman on either side of him. Curiously enough, Barça played with 3-4-3 formation against Valencia in the first half of the season.

Back to top