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Over-used Mertesacker in need of rest

Arsenal
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Barca to appeal against Valdes ban

Barcelona have confirmed that they will appeal against the four-game ban handed to goalkeeper Victor Valdes after he insulted referee Miguel Angel Perez Lasa following the 2-1 La Liga defeat at Real Madrid.

Valdes, 31, was incensed that Perez Lasa did not award Barca a late penalty for a Sergio Ramos challenge on Adriano Correia inside the Madrid area.

The goalkeeper was shown a straight red card after confronting the referee at the final whistle and telling him he "had no shame".

His dismissal sparked speculation over the length of the ban he would face. In January, Ramos had received a five-game ban for accusing referee Miguel Angel Ayza Gomez of being a "shameless scoundrel" after being shown a red card during a Copa del Rey win over Celta Vigo.

Spain's competition committee announced its four-match decision on Wednesday, and a Barcelona statement said: "The legal department of FC Barcelona will lodge an appeal in the coming days against the decision."

The ban means Valdes will miss home games against Deportivo la Coruna, Rayo Vallecano and Real Mallorca and the away clash with Celta Vigo.

Reserve keeper Jose Pinto, 37, now looks sure to start against Deportivo on Saturday, although it is unclear which goalkeeper will be on the bench.

Barca B keeper Oier Olazabal, 23, is suspended after he was sent off for a professional foul during the youth team's 3-3 La Segunda draw at Las Palmas.

Next in line Jordi Masip, 24, missed the trip to Las Palmas with a knee injury. Should he not recover in time, 19-year-old fifth choice Miguel Banuz is likely be on the bench.

Joseph Fabrice Ondoa, 17, who came to Barca via Samuel Eto'o's foundation in 2009 and has already been called up to the Cameroon senior squad, is another potential option for Barca stand-in coach Jordi Roura.

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