The time for experimentation during preseason is over. Ernesto Valverde will need to decide who his first choice eleven will be for the 2019/20 season. A trip to San Mames is never easy and less so when your team is still finding its rhythm.
You would imagine that someone as meticulous as Valverde will already have an idea in mind. Of course, the other factor to take on board is the fitness of several players. Plenty have been available since day one but many others arrived at various other points due to their summer commitments. There's also a big question mark hanging over Lionel Messi's fitness as he's extremely unlikely to be risked so early on in the season.
LENGLET REMAINS AHEAD OF UMTITI
Even before the news of Neto's injury became public, Marc-Andre ter Stegen was going to start between the sticks. Nelson Semedo has cemented his place as first choice right-back, Jordi Alba will start on the opposite flank with Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet in the middle. Samuel Umtiti is unlikely to have done enough to convince Valverde to restore him to the first eleven just yet.
Frenkie de Jong, despite training away from the group yesterday, is certain to claim a place in midfield. He sits alongside Sergio Busquets. Then the only question mark is that final midfield spot on the other side. Sergi Roberto and Ivan Rakitic are the most likely choices, assuming the Croatian hasn't left as part of the Neymar deal.
A DEADLY ATTACKING TRIO
Up front you'd expect to see the same front three which worked so well against Napoli: Dembele-Suarez-Griezmann. The two French stars have produced near perfect performances throughout preseason and, alongside the clinical Uruguayan, will form a potent trio for the LaLiga opener. Messi hasn't returned to full training yet, and is yet to begin his own preseason, so his debut in the competition will need to wait.