MX23RW : Saturday, November 17 07:26:25

Team News: Paco Alcacer handed rare league start for visit of Athletic Bilbao

Team News: Alcacer handed rare league start
© SilverHub
Paco Alcacer takes over from the suspended Luis Suarez for Barcelona's home league match against Athletic Bilbao.

Paco Alcacer has been handed a rare La Liga start in the absence of Luis Suarez for Barcelona's home match against Athletic Bilbao this afternoon.

The 24-year-old fills the void left by the suspended Suarez, who picked up his sixth yellow card of the season in the 2-0 win over Malaga last weekend.

Alcacer is used from the off for just the seventh time in the league this term, and for the first time in more than a month, as he joins Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele in the forward line.

There is also a place in the matchday squad for Carles Alena after being promoted from the B side for this contest, joining the likes of Andres Iniesta and Andre Gomes on the bench.

Elsewhere, Philippe Coutinho returns to the starting lineup having been cup-tied for the midweek win over Chelsea in the Champions League, taking a place in midfield alongside Ivan Rakitic and Paulinho.

In terms of the visitors, who trail Barcelona by 37 points, they are without forward Iker Muniain, midfielder Mikel Rico and defender Yeray Alvarez due to injury.

Sabin Merino will lead the attack for Athletic in Catalonia, seeking a first goal in his 13th outing of the campaign - nine of those being from the bench.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Paulinho, Coutinho; Dembele, Alcacer, Messi
Subs: Cillessen, Iniesta, Digne, Andre Gomes, Aleix Vidal, Yerry Mina, Alena

Athletic Bilbao: Arrizabalaga; Lekue, Nunez, Martinez, Saborit; Benat, San Jose, De Marcos, Garcia, Susaeta; Merino
Subs: Iago Herrerin, Iturraspe, Williams, Etxeita, Aduriz, Vesga, Cordoba

Follow all of the action as it unfolds at Camp Nou with Sports Mole's live text coverage right here.

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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi celebrates scoring during his side's Champions League group game against Juventus at the Camp Nou on September 12, 2017
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona1273234181624
2Sevilla1272324141023
3Atletico MadridAtletico12651168823
4AlavesAlaves127231712523
5Espanyol126331610621
6Real Madrid126242016420
7Real Valladolid1245399017
8Levante125251819-117
9GironaGirona124531314-117
10Real Sociedad124441514116
11Getafe124441110116
12Real Betis124441215-316
13EibarEibar124351218-615
14Celta Vigo123542220214
15Valencia1228289-114
16Villarreal122551113-211
17Athletic Bilbao121741319-610
18Leganes12246916-710
19Rayo Vallecano121471425-117
20Huesca121381025-156

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