Football

Barcelona set to make changes for La Liga Clasico

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Barcelona are expected to make first-team changes for this Saturday's La Liga clash with Real Madrid, including handing a rare start to Arsenal target David Villa.

Following Tuesday's disappointing 3-1 semi-final second leg defeat to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey, stand-in coach Jordi Roura and midfield maestro Andres Iniesta suggested changes were needed. 

ESPN have reported that David Villa and Javier Mascherano are likely to start ahead of Cesc Fabregas and Carles Puyol in attempt to freshen up a side that has stuttered over recent weeks.

The Catalan giants also have injury doubts, with Mundo Deportivo reporting that Xavi and Fabregas were required to have painkilling injections to soothe hamstring problems before Tuesday night's game. Lionel Messi missed training on Wednesday with a fever, but he is expected to have recovered before the side travel to the Spanish capital.

Jose Mourinho may also make changes to his Real Madrid side. Angel Di Maria will definitely miss out, having picked up a red card against Deportivo la Coruna last weekend. Jose Callejon and Raul Albiol are doubtful after skipping training on Thursday and Xabi Alonso may be rested ahead of Madrid's trip to Manchester United in the Champions League.

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