Chelsea vs. Barça: All roads lead to Andre Gomes

The Portugal international often starts the big games

Paulinho is the other option for coach Ernesto Valverde

André Gomes firmó una de sus mejores jugadas de la temporada ante el Celta en Balaídos | LALIGA

Barcelona's side at Stamford Bridge has one doubt: who will accompany Busquets, Rakitic and Iniesta in midfield. The answer will arrive on Tuesday, although there are clues which welcome the idea that Andre Gomes will start. There are various reasons for that. 

Toni Juanmartí

@tjuanmarti

The Portuguese midfielder is rested. He's not played since Feb. 8, when started the Copa del Rey semifinal at the Mestalla against Valencia. Valverde rested him against Getafe and Eibar, so it's possible he wanted him fresh for what will be a demanding, physical encounter. 

Gomes has still not taken off at Barça. However, both Luis Enrique and Valverde have used him in important games away from home. This season, he's started at the Wanda, Anoeta and also San Mames. "He keeps the team together," the coach said when asked what he adds to the side. 

There's room for improvement as far as Gomes is concerned, but his 'rivals' for the position aren't much better. Dembele has hardly no rhythm of competitive games. Coutinho can't play in Europe and Paulinho's form has dipped off in recent weeks. Remember that he joined Barça in the middle of the Chinese season, so hasn't had a preseason or a break, so to speak. 

Chelsea are dangerous out wide, with the attacks from wing backs Moses and Marcos Alonso, so Valverde will have one eye on that. With Andre Gomes, Barça would play a 4-4-2, with a flatter midfield and the full-backs more protected, while Paulinho's inclusion would mean more of a diamond. Therefore, all roads lead to Gomes. 

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