Arthur or Arturo? Dembele or Coutinho? Valverde's dilemmas

The coach is ready for the derby with doubts in two positions

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Ernesto Valverde has a day to decide what will be his line-up for the Catalan derby clash with Espanyol on Sunday. Either to continue with Ousmane Dembele and Arturo Vidal, or to bring back the fit again Arthur and Philippe Coutinho.

Albert Escandell


The main doubt for Valverde is this. Dembele has won over the fans and been important in attack in the last three games (ignoring the Copa del Rey). Against Atletico he equalised, and was the most dangerous player against PSV and Villarreal. 

On the other hand, Coutinho is not going through a good period. He has started 14 of 17 games he has been available for, scoring five and giving four assists, but just two goals have come in the last two months. That lack of delivery could see him benched against former side Espanyol.

There is a chance Valverde could go for the pair and leave Luis Suarez on the bench, but that seems improbable now the Uruguayan has returned to training.


The Chilean is in his best form for Barca, two starts in a row against Atletico and Villarreal in La Liga. He wants to be a key piece of the team and he has shown that to the coach and the fans.

Arthur is back after suffering a muscle overload against Atletico and he has already shown his quality this season and for a while was an undisputable starter. 

The team that could line up:

Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Vidal (Arthur); Messi, Suárez, Dembélé (Coutinho).


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