Barcelona set to welcome back three players for Villarreal clash

Stanley Chou

Andrés Iniesta, Jordi Alba and Cesc Fàbregas are all expected to be available for Barcelona's meeting with the Yellow Submarine of Saturday.

Barcelona's roster has been stretched to the limit over the past couple weeks with matches on three fronts and injuries to several regular starters. While they've managed to get through in fairly good shape -- a loss to Athletic Bilbao being the only blemish -- Gerardo Martino will be glad to welcome back three players for this weekend's match against fifth place Villarreal.

Jordi Alba is set to make his La Liga return after missing most of the season with two different leg muscle injuries. The fullback played 81 minutes in Barca's Copa del Rey win over FC Cartagena on December 6th, but Martino has been careful not to rush Alba back too fast. Martin Montoya and Adriano have handled the lion share of the fullback duties of late with both Alba and Dani Alves sidelined.

Cesc Fàbregas was suspended during Barca's win over Celtic in the mid-week while Andrés Iniesta and Alba were unused subs. Iniesta has been given some rest over the past two weeks and hasn't played since the Athletic Club match.

There are still some wounded stars that won't be ready for Saturday with Lionel Messi and Victor Valdés sidelined until the new year. Alves' status is still up in the air as well.

According to a report on the BBC website, Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta is set to travel to Argentina to review Messi's recovery. The striker has been in Argentina rehabbing since late last month.

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