What's worse than being a team heading to the Camp Nou for a match against Barcelona? Being a team heading to the Camp Nou with a penchant for giving up goals on the road. What's worse than that? How about being a team heading to the Camp Nou, with a penchant for giving up away goals, and then being without both starting fullbacks.
That's what's facing Manolo Jiménez as his 11th placed side visit the Blaugrana today. Zaragoza's task was going to be hard enough, but the loss of Cristian Sapunaru and Abraham to card suspensions will only make things that much more difficult.
Losing Alexis Sanchez for four weeks with an ankle injury is a blow for Barcelona, but more in terms of depth than anything else. David Villa is the likely choice to replace the injured Chilean, but Cristian Tello has been playing regularly as well. Whoever lines up to the left and right of Lionel Messi will have an excellent chance of scoring some goals against Zaragoza's weakened back line.
Tito Vilanova could have his first choice defensive pairing back with captain Carles Puyol recovered from his elbow injury sooner than expected. The biggest lineup decision for Barca could be the defensive midfield. Sergio Busquets is suspended for yellow card accumulation and Alex Song is nursing a back injury. If Song can't go, Javier Mascherano seems like the likely choice.
Barcelona injuries and suspensions
Out: Alexis Sanchez (ankle), Sergio Busquets (suspended), . In doubt: Alex Song (back), Adriano (hamstring).
Real Zaragoza injuries and suspensions
Out: Cristian Sapunaru (suspended), Abraham (suspended), Maurizio Lanzaro (ankle), Ivan Obradović (knee). In Doubt: Jose Mari (knee).
Sanchez went down during an international friendly in the midweek and is expected to miss a month. Sergio Busquets is serving a one match band for yellow card accumulation. Zaragosa's two starting fullbacks, Sapunaru and Abraham are serving suspensions as well. Jose Mari could make his return from a knee injury.
Match Date/Time: 9 p.m. local, 2 p.m. ET
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
TV: beIN Sport 1 (U.S.), Sky Sports 4 (U.K.)