BARCELONA, September 18 (RIA Novosti, James Ellingworth)
Barcelona have a raft of players retuning from injury and illness for Wednesday's Champions League opener against Spartak Moscow, but the hole left by talismanic captain Carles Puyol is giving coach Tito Vilanova cause for concern.
Vilanova has three key players potentially returning to the lineup for the clash at the Camp Nou in young midfielder Thiago Alcantara, Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez and left wingback Jordi Alba.
Striker David Villa found the net as a substitute in Barcelona's 4-1 win over Getafe on Saturday, his first game after en eight-month injury layoff, and could retain his place against Spartak, while Cesc Fabregas, who has reportedly been unhappy at the high level of competition at the club, may also start.
"I think that all three are capable of playing tomorrow," Vilanova said in reference to Villa, Fabregas and Thiago.
Of Alba, the coach said cryptically "He can train," while adding of Sanchez that "Alexis is already able to have normal training sessions."
Meanwhile, at the back, Vilanova said he may deploy utility man Sergio Busquets in place of Puyol, who was substituted with a knee ligament injury after 57 minutes of the Getafe game.
The match against Spartak will be Vilanova's fixture Champions League fixture in charge since succeeding Pep Guardiola at the end of last season.
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