Without Alves and Jordi Alba, Luis Enrique will have to place a inhabitual player
Winning La Liga depends on next El Clásico match on March 22, but also on next game against Eibar, Saturday at 6pm. Luis Enrique won't be able to count on any of the starter full-backs. Alba forced the 5th yellow card to be clean for El Clásico against Real Madrid and Alves was sent-off after a tackle on Rayo's Bueno this Sunday.
Luis Enrique likes to talk about the importance of using all the squad to win titles at the end of the season. Despite that, the full-backs have almost always been occupied by Alves and Alba. But now he is forced to make two changes. Which options does Luis Enrique have? Last week we talked about the possible replacements for Busquets. Now it's time to analyze the options in the full-back: three natural ones: Adriano, Montoya, Douglas, and three alternative options (Bartra or Pedro).
Adriano Correia (819 minutes, 18 matches played, 7 as starter)
Versatility. We have seen both play on the left side and the right side. Being ambidextrous lets him develop naturally on both sides. In most games he played in the place of Jordi Alba. Disciplined and cautious when attacking through the side, he has scored two goals and made two assists this season. A guarantee.
Martín Montoya (691 minutes, 8 matches, all as starter)
Luis Enrique stopped his departure in the winter market. He is the 20th most used player. When he played as right-back he always did so as starter and only in one occasion he didn't play all the 90 minutes. Irregular performance, with little precision in attack. Despite not performing terribly bad, the fact of having played only a few matches could have make him lose confidence.
Douglas Pereira (236 minutes, 4 matches played, 2 as starter)
A season of adaptation for the former Sao Paulo player, who have only played one Liga match (Málaga) and 3 Copa, with little requirement. His performances have not transmitted security in the defense line and he is currently the 3rd right-back of the team. It seems that his options to play versus Eibar are remote.
Marc Bartra (1,449 minutes, 19 matches played, 16 as starter)
The center-back is alternating games as starter and as substitute or not even called. He could be an alternative for the right side, which has not been seen this season. In the last match of the group stage of the Champions League against PSG, Luis Enrique placed him together with Piqué and Mathieu in the three-line defense. The player from Barça's Academy showed a great performance that night despite not developing the task of a right-back. This weekend he also opts to a place as center-back, his natural position, as Mascherano is about to see the fifth yellow card and could miss clash against Madrid.
Pedro Rodríguez (1,741 minutes, 36 matches played, 21 as starter)
He is the first attacking option after Messi-Suárez-Neymar and it's improbable he plays as right-back, specially if we remember Luis Enrique's words talking about Pedro only developing an attacking role. But his tactical discipline and sacrifice in terms of defense make him be a possible candidate to occupy Alves' place.