The Barcelona lineup that should start against Valencia

Few could have envisaged Barcelona being a part of La Liga’s title race after a run of two wins from eight outings towards the start of the campaign.

Ronald Koeman’s side have been in stellar form since the turn of the year, but just as they looked to be emerging as favourites to be crowned champions they went and bottled it at home to Granada.

Their 2-1 defeat last time out means they now rely on Atletico Madrid dropping points if they’re to have any chance of topping the table, so every game from now until the end of the season is huge.

Koeman’s side head to struggling Valencia this Sunday eager to put their Thursday night woes behind them, and here’s how they could lineup to do just that…

Gerard Pique will start at the heart of the defenceGerard Pique will start at the heart of the defence
Gerard Pique will start at the heart of the defence | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – The German has been an ever-present since overcoming a knee injury at the start of the campaign and will undoubtedly be between the sticks.

Oscar Mingueza (CB) – The youngster has been thrown in at the deep end this season and hasn’t done too badly considering. Recently penned a new contract.

Gerard Pique (CB) – Speaking of injury-plagued seasons. The Spaniard has mustered just 14 La Liga appearances this season but he’s an automatic starter when fit.

Clement Lenglet (CB) – The Frenchman has been a regular in the side since Koeman’s arrival and he’s likely to be restored to the starting XI after missing out against Granada.

Sergio Busquets has played almost every La Liga game for Barcelona this seasonSergio Busquets has played almost every La Liga game for Barcelona this season
Sergio Busquets has played almost every La Liga game for Barcelona this season | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Sergino Dest (RWB) – The youngster has settled into life in Barcelona nicely but will undoubtedly be hoping the best is yet to come.

Frenkie de Jong (CM) – Has featured in every single league game this season and it’s fair to say Koeman’s side don’t look the same without him in midfield.

Sergio Busquets (CM) – Busquets may be entering the twilight of his career but that’s not to say he’s any less brilliant. One of the best midfielders ever to grace La Liga and is still as influential as ever.

Pedri (CM) – If Barcelona end the season empty-handed at least they can look back on Pedri’s emergence as a highlight. Looks a real prospect.

Jordi Alba (LWB) – A hugely influential player that offers a constant outlet down the left-hand side. Has impressive goal involvement stats for the season.

Lionel Messi will be vital in Barcelona's end of season run-inLionel Messi will be vital in Barcelona's end of season run-in
Lionel Messi will be vital in Barcelona’s end of season run-in | Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann (ST) – It’s certainly been better than his maiden campaign but the Frenchman is still not hitting the heights he did at Atletico. Barcelona need more from the World Cup winner if they’re to dominate European football again.

Lionel Messi (ST) – The little genius took a bit of time to get going this season – and by ‘a little time to get going’ we mean he only scored a goal every other game – but since the turn of the year he’s been sensational and has spearheaded his club’s title charge.

Let’