Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona, Leagues, Spanish Primera División, Story


Shaka Hislop and Ross Dyer try their hand at predicting the notable week 10 fixtures in La Liga.

Barcelona will be without Andres Iniesta for this weekend’s game against Athletic Bilbao, but Javier Mascherano will make the trip despite skipping training on Friday with a fever.

Iniesta has not trained for the last few days due to a thigh strain and is also a major doubt for Tuesday’s Champions League game against Olympiakos.

The midfielder, who signed a contract for life earlier this month, has featured regularly this season, playing in 12 of 15 games under Ernesto Valverde.

Mascherano has also been unable to train but Valverde has included him in the 20-man squad for Saturday’s game against Athletic in the hope that he recovers in time.

The Argentine has not been a regular this season, with Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti often preferred, but he has started the last two games at centre-back.

In the case that he is not able to play, Barca B’s David Costas or Oriol Busquets will step in, having both been included in the first team squad for the first ever time.

Thomas Vermaelen will also miss the game at San Mames due to a hip problem which he picked up in the midweek Copa del Rey win against Real Murcia.

In addition to Iniesta and Vermaelen, Barca are also without Rafinha, Ousmane Dembele, Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal.

However, left-back Jordi Alba has recovered from the thigh strain which kept him out of the last three games and will make the trip to the Basque Country.

Barcelona lead La Liga from Valencia by four points and are looking to make it 14 games unbeaten in all competitions this weekend.



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