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Barcelona defender faces suspension risk for Osasuna clash if booked vs Villarreal

Barcelona are set to lock horns with Villarreal in La Liga on Saturday in what will be their first home match of 2024 at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys.

The Blaugrana go into the game on the back of a disappointing result as they were defeated 4-2 in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals by Athletic Club.

With an eight-point gap to the top of the table in La Liga, the Catalans will be eager to get back to winning ways and bag three points against Marcelino’s men.

Joao Cancelo to start at left-back

However, Barcelona will go into the game without a natural left-back in the squad as both Alejandro Balde and Marcos Alonso are out injured.

As such, Joao Cancelo, back from injury earlier this week, is expected to start as the left-back against Villarreal with young Hector Fort starting at right-back.

If he features tomorrow, Cancelo would be back on the pitch for the first time since getting injured against Las Palmas in Barcelona’s first match of 2024.

While he was in the squad list against Athletic Club on Wednesday, the defender did not see any minutes and is in line to return to the side on Saturday.

Cancelo at risk of getting suspended

But, as Cancelo gets set to return to La Liga action, the 29-year-old Portuguese ace would need to proceed with some caution on the pitch.

This is because the Manchester City loanee is already on four yellow cards for the season in the league. Another booking tomorrow against Villarreal would earn him an automatic one-match suspension, leading to him missing the game versus CA Osasuna on January 31.

Considering that Barcelona are already short on full-backs due to injuries, having Cancelo get suspended, especially with no Balde and Alonso, would be a concern.

The 29-year-old has been a good addition to Xavi’s team since arriving on loan from Manchester City in the summer and will have a key role to essay between now and the end of the season, with Balde unlikely to play again this term.

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