Barcelona earned a big opening day win last weekend as they began life after Lionel Messi with a 4-2 victory over Real Sociedad.
Ronald Koeman approached that game without a number of key players, and will have to do the same again when he leads his Blaugrana outfit into Basque country to face Athletic Bilbao.
At least six regular first-teamers are unavailable, including No.1 Marc-Andre ter Stegen and new signing Sergio Aguero, who will have to wait a little longer to make his Barca debut.
These absences, simply for lack of alternative options rather than anything else, could force Koeman into naming an unchanged XI from the Sociedad win, and the Dutchman will no doubt be hoping for a similar result.
Neto will keep his place in goal in ter Stegen’s absence, with Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba leading the back four alongside the lesser experienced Eric Garcia and Sergino Dest.
Sergio Busquets should sit at the base of the midfield screening the back four, with Frenkie de Jong and Pedri in front of him. The latter is on a seemingly never-ending run of football games after a summer that saw him reach the Euro 2020 semi-finals and the gold medal match at the Olympics with Spain.
Martin Braithwaite stepped to be the hero last week with a decisive brace, and the Dane will keep his place in the attack for Barcelona. After a positive World Cup campaign with Denmark, Braithwaite is out to fill Messi’s shoes at Camp Nou this season.
Memphis Depay was unable to celebrate a debut goal but should get the nod again with Antoine Griezmann completing the front three as the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati remain on the treatment table.