Preview: Barcelona v Real Murcia

Barcelona are expected to ring the changes in Wednesday's Copa del Rey clash against Real Murcia, with a 3-0 advantage from the first leg.

29 November 2017
Copa del Rey
Round-of-32 second leg
Kick-off: 20:30 local time
Venue: Camp Nou

Referee: J. Rojas
Assistants: I. Ramos, M. Aguilar

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Barcelona 5 5 0 0
Real Murcia 5 0 0 5

Previous encounter:

Real Murcia 0-3 Barcelona (24/10/2017) Copa del Rey last-32 first leg

Barca scorers: Paco Alcacer (44'), Gerard Deulofeu (52'), Jose Arnaiz (56') 

Players to watch:

Paco Alcacer appears set for a rare start in midweek with the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez being rested. The 24-year-old has made just seven appearances in the current campaign yet he's proved his worth with three goals to his credit.

The encounter against the minnows from Murcia could present a great opportunity to keep adding to his numbers, as Alcacer eyes a more permanent role in the first team.

For Los Pimentoneros, it is expected to be a backs-to-the-wall experience although there may be the occasional hope of catching Barca on rare counters.

With that said, striker Elady Zorrilla could come to the fore for the visitors. He narrowly missed a glorious chance to score in the first leg, and with six Segunda B goals in 11 appearances to his name, the Spaniard will no doubt hope to put his name in lights against the La Liga leaders.

Team form and quotes:

The Catalan giants come into the cup-tie showing a slight dip in form with three draws and two wins in their last five outings across all competitions. 

Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde confirmed a raft of changes would be made to the starting line-up.

He told reporters: "We propose the game as the one. It is true that we carried a favorable score, that the team gave a good measure in the first leg and that I will repeat with some of those who were there. Some players will have some more rest."

Jose Maria Salmeron's side are in good form with four wins out of five in Segunda B, where they lie fifth in the standings.

Salmeron says he is under no illusions about the task facing his team, telling AS: "We continue to improve, but we know that we are going to face one of the best in the world. He is the leader of the First Division and, although we will suffer, we have to do our best and compete."

Team news:

Ousmane Dembele won't return for Barca as his recovery from a hamstring injury continues. Meanwhile, the majority of the team that drew 1-1 with Valencia on Sunday are expected to be rested.

For the visitors, Salmeron said he will take a 16-man squad to the Camp Nou as he prioritizes the club's next match in the league against Real Betis II on December 3rd.

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