Barcelona vs. Sporting: Team News, Preview, Live Stream, TV Info for UCL

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2017

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 02:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Celta de Vigo at Camp Nou on December 2, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona may have already won their group in the UEFA Champions League, but on Tuesday they will face a Sporting CP side who still have everything to play for.

The Portuguese side are just one point behind Juventus and will be hoping an unlikely win over the Blaugrana can see them through to the knockout stage, albeit they're also relying on the Italian champions slipping up against Olympiakos.

Read on for a closer look at the clash, but first here is the viewing information and the latest team news:

                                 

Date: Tuesday, December 5

Time: 7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET

TV: BT Sport Extra (UK), ESPN3 USA

Live Stream:  BT Sport Live (UK), WatchESPN (USA)

                                       

Team News

Barcelona confirmed on their official website Andres Iniesta will miss the match against Sporting after suffering a calf injury on Saturday.

The club also ruled out Samuel Umtiti for around eight weeks after he suffered a hamstring injury in the same match, a 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo.

According to Transfermarkt, Sporting's only absentee is Jonathan Silva, who picked up a knee injury in November that is expected to keep him out of action for several months.

                                            

Preview

Barcelona come into the game without Umtiti, and the Guardian's Sid Lowe believes the Frenchman's absence will be keenly felt by the Catalan giants:

That could be even more acute after a poor performance at the back against Celta.

Barca had shipped just five in their first 13 La Liga matches of the campaign, but they conceded twice to mid-table Celta having left themselves exposed at the back on numerous occasions.

Football writers Rafael Hernandez and Samuel Marsden both noticed their struggles:

It does not bode well for the Sporting match, as the Portuguese outfit are the top scorers in Group D and with a predatory striker like Bas Dost in the side, they are well-equipped to capitalise on any defensive uncertainty.

The Dutchman netted his 14th goal of the campaign in all competitions against Belenenses on Friday, his 50th for the club in just 62 matches. 

Meanwhile, as both Hernandez and Marsden noted, Lionel Messi wasas evera positive influence despite his team-mates failing to achieve the standards they are capable of in the contest.

However, the Argentinian did not start against Juventus in the last round of Champions League matches and, with little at stake, that may be the case again. If Messi is rested, it will fall to his team-mates to step up in his absence.

The match is of relatively little consequence to Barcelona, but with Umtiti out there's scope for their defenders to stake a claim to start regularly until he returns. Up front, Messi's potential absence could give others the chance to impress.