MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 26: Lionel Messi of Barcelona in action during the La Liga match between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona at Vicente Calderon Stadium on February 26, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
Barcelona should absolutely decimate Sporting Gijon on Saturday, even without Lionel Messi.
Despite the ridiculous improbability that Barcelona will finish any higher or lower than second place in La Liga, it appears that they will be made to play the final 14 games of the La Liga campaign. The matchup that they face on Saturday is not one that is likely to be tricky for them. The Cules could opt to rest some of their best players when they welcome a very poor Sporting Gijon team to Camp Nou.
And if Barcelona don't rest anyone? This is probably going to be an embarrassing beating of epic proportions. Sporting's defense is joint worst in the league and the worst in La Liga away from home. Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets are suspended, while Xavi, Eric Abidal, Thiago Alcantara and Pedro are injury doubts. Don't expect Pep Guardiola to risk any of them.
Grégory Arnolin and Alberto Botia, Sporting's two best central defenders, are injury doubts. So is right back/right midfielder Alberto Lora. As previously stated, this has the potential to be an incredible blowout. This is not the Barcelona of the last couple of seasons, but they might bust out something ridiculous here. Don't be stunned to see the Blaugranas truly pile it on.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, March 3, 12:00 p.m. ET, 6:00 p.m. local
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
TV: GolTV (USA and Canada), Sky Sports 4 (UK)