Copa del Rey Preview – WednesdayNovember 29, 2017
Ernesto Valverde will take Wednesday evening’s Copa del Rey game against Real Murcia at the Camp Nou as an opportunity to rest a number of key players as Barcelona look to progress to the last 16.
Marc Andre Ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti will all miss out on Wednesday with a number of B team players being called up.
The full squad is as follows: Jasper Cillesen, Adrian Ortola; Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Lucas Digne, Sergi Roberto, Aleix Vidal, Thomas Vermaelen; Denis Suarez, Paulinho, Oriol Busquets, Jose Arnaiz, David Costas; Paco Alcacer, Gerard Deulofeu, Carles Alena.
Real Murcia gaffer Jose Maria Salmeron is under no illusion as to how tough the game will be for his side, saying, “They’re one of the best teams in the world, the current leaders of the First Division, and we know we’re going to suffer, but we have to try our best.”
The Catalans lead 3-0 from the first leg.
Atlético Madrid boss Diego Simeone is taking no chances in Atléti’s home game against third tier Elche as the Spaniard hasn’t named any youth players in his squad for the match at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Antoine Griezmann is among the names in the squad as Los Colchoneros look to improve on the 1-1 draw they managed in the first leg.
The 16 players he has named in the squad are: Miguel Angel Moya, Axel Werner; Sime Vrsaljko, Stefan Savic, Lucas Hernadnez, Jose Maria Gimenez, Thomas Partey; Koke, Saul, Yannick Carrasco, Augusto Fernandez, Nico Gaitan; Antoine Griezmann, Fernando Torres, Angel Correa, Luciano Vietto.
Athletic Bilbao will also look to make home advantage count after an away draw when they host Formentera.
The Basques only managed to draw 1-1 in the first leg but are of course big favourites to defeat the Islanders at the San Mames.
Boss Cuco Ziganda however believes his side will have a tough game on their hands as he worries that Formentera will play without pressure; “The team that in theory has no obligation to win plays more calm, with less pressure and have fun in the field.
Things should be slightly easier for their Basque rivals Real Sociedad who host Lleida Esportiu at the Anoeta.
A wonderstrike from Sergio Canales earned La Real a 1-0 win in the first leg and they will hope to get the job done tonight with the minimum of fuss.
Eusebio Sacristan is expected to make changes however, with games against Atlético Madrid and Zenit coming up. In fact he has left out Asier Illarramendi, Inigo Martinez, Willian Jose and Mikel Oyarzabal.
Sevilla are also clear favourites to progress against Cartagena going into the home leg after a 3-0 win in the first leg.
Pablo Sarabia, Joaquin Correa and Luis Muriel scored for the Andalucians away from home to give them this comfortable advantage.
Elsewhere, Las Palmas host Deportivo in an all La Liga clash.
The Yellows are expected to earn their place in the next round, despite their low league position, thanks to their 4-1 win at the Riazor in the first leg.
Depor did win in Gran Canaria when the two sides met in the league but they have a tough ask tonight needing to score four unanswered goals to make it through to the last 16.
Wednesday’s Fixtures (Kick-Offs UK Time)
6:30pm Barcelona vs Real Murcia 6:30pm Real Sociedad vs Lleida Esportiu 6:30pm Sevilla vs Cartagena 8:30pm Athletic Bilbao vs Formentera 8:30pm Atletico Madrid vs Elche 8:30pm Las Palmas vs Deportivo La Coruna