Barcelona manager Luis Enrique faces a selection headache to form his defence in the crucial trip to Deportivo de la Coruna on Wednesday night (20 April) after Gerard Pique saw his 10th yellow card of the campaign during the weekend defeat to Valencia. Arda Turan, meanwhile, is a doubt for the game after a bout of gastritis that may further delay the Turkish international's return, after he already missed the weekend game due to suspension.
The La Liga holders travel to Deportivo after having secured just one point from their last four games, with three consecutive defeats to Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and Los Che. Yet, they are still in control of their title fate with five games to go as they remain at the top of the table on goal difference over Atletico Madrid and one point above Los Blancos.
That credit, nevertheless, is running low and the absences of the leader of the Barcelona defence means a massive blow to Luis Enrique, especially considering that Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermalen are currently on the treatment table and unlikely to return in time for the game.
Mathieu has been missing during the last bad run of results after he underwent a knee operation later on March following the serious setback he suffered with the national team, being ruled out for much of the remaining period of the campaign. Vermaelen picked up a knock in the preparation of the Champions League quarter-final second leg with Atletico Madrid last week and the club have since failed to give any update on his recovery.
The situation leaves out of favour Marc Bartra as the only first-team solution at Luis Enrique's disposal to partner Javier Mascherano in the heart of their defence at Deportivo. The academy defender has only started three La Liga games for Barcelona in the whole campaign, with the latest being earlier in October during a 3-1 victory over Eibar.
The Barcelona manager has therefore also called up centre-back Borja Lopez from the second team during Monday's (18 April) training session to address the issue but Bartra is expected to be the one chosen to face the Deportivo challenge.
Meanwhile, Arda Turan was expected to be back in the squad after he couldn't help his side during the defeat to Valencia due to suspension. Yet, the club have now revealed that the former Atletico Madrid could also miss the game against Deportivo due to gastritis.