Jordi Alba is set to return while Antoine Griezmann is expected to start ahead of Francisco Trincao when Barcelona host Real Madrid at Camp Nou.

The curtains are set to be raised on the first El Clasico of the season as Real Madrid travel to Catalunya to take on fierce rivals Barcelona at Camp Nou on Saturday. While Real Madrid will be desperate to get back to winning ways, Barcelona will hope they can build on their fantastic victory in the Champions League.

Jordi Alba was subbed off due to a hamstring injury against Sevilla but has been included in the matchday squad for El Clasico. The Spaniard missed the games against Getafe and Ferencvaros, with new signing Sergino Dest covering for him on the left.

During his pre-game press conference, Ronald Koeman addressed the inclusion of Jordi Alba in the squad and if the fans can expect to see him on the pitch, to which the Dutchman gave a subtle reply, saying, “The decision is up to him to see if he can play or not. If he is ready, there’s a possibility that he might play tomorrow.”

We expect Alba to start the game in the left-back slot, with Sergi Roberto retaining his place on the right. Dest is available as well, but Koeman may give the nod to the experienced full-back who has had some of his best performances against Real Madrid.

The Spanish full-backs will be flanking mainstays Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet, who will start the game at the heart of the Barcelona defence. Pique will get his much-needed rest against Juventus on Wednesday after picking up a red card against Ferencvaros but will need to be at his level best versus his favourite opponents, Real Madrid.

With Marc-Andre ter Stegen out of action due to injury, there is no doubt that Neto will pick up the gloves for the sixth time this season, hoping to mirror the excellent bar set by ter Stegen in El Clasico games.

Koeman’s favourite Frenkie de Jong will undoubtedly start in the double pivot following his excellent performance in midweek but will partner Sergio Busquets instead of Miralem Pjanic in the setup. The Bosnian is still gelling in with the squad and may have to stick to being a regular substitute for now.

The attack, more specifically the right wing position, is where things get interesting. Antoine Griezmann was dropped in midweek, with Fransisco Trincão replacing him. However, we expect Koeman to put faith in Griezmann’s experience and give him the nod over Ousmane Dembele and Trincao for this clash.

Ansu Fati will take up the slot on the right, while in-form player Philippe Coutinho starts in the mediapunta role in the attacking midfield position in the 4-2-3-1. Lionel Messi will be the first name on the team-sheet, but the furthest man forward in attack playing as a false 9.

Predicted Barcelona XI: Neto; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, de Jong; Griezmann, Coutinho, Fati; Messi

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