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Balde, Roberto start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could line up against Osasuna

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Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

FC Barcelona will lock horns with CA Osasuna in less than 12 hours in the second semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup at Al-Awwal Park in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Blaugrana entered the Spanish Super Cup by virtue of their La Liga triumph last season while Osasuna qualified after finishing as runners-up in the Copa del Rey last term.

The two teams will now battle it out for a place in the finals, where Real Madrid await them after having defeated Atletico Madrid 5-3 in the first semi-final on Wednesday.

Barcelona won the Spanish Super Cup last time out which acted as a major turning point in their season. And, Xavi Hernandez & co. will be hoping for a similar outcome this campaign as well, especially with the team not firing on all cylinders of late.

The Blaugrana go into the game without key players like Gavi, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Inigo Martinez, and Joao Cancelo, while Marcos Alonso is also out. But, the good news is that Pedri could be available to play some minutes against Osasuna.

Here’s how Xavi could set his Barcelona team up against Jagoba Arrasate’s side tonight in the Spanish Super Cup semi-finals.

Starters

With no Ter Stegen, Barcelona will continue to bank on Inaki Pena in goal, who will be eager to keep a clean sheet after having leaked a lot of goals in recent matches.

Given that Joao Cancelo will also not be ready, there is a very good chance that Xavi will revert to the B.A.C.K. defensive quartet that worked wonders for Barça last season.

As such, Jules Kounde is expected to slot in at right-back while Ronald Araujo and Andreas Christensen pair up at the heart of the Blaugrana defence.

Meanwhile, Alejandro Balde should return at left-back after missing the cup tie against Barbastro due to illness. With concerns growing over his performances, this will be the perfect opportunity for the youngster to prove himself again.

Frenkie de Jong is a certainty in the middle of the park for Barcelona, as is Ilkay Gundogan, who will return after not starting against Barbastro last weekend.

Captain Roberto to start vs Osasuna? (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

That leaves Oriol Romeu, Fermin Lopez, and Sergi Roberto competing for the third spot in the Blaugrana midfield unit. Considering his experience and recent form, it is captain Roberto who could get the nod from Xavi against Osasuna.

As for the attacking trident, Joao Felix is all but certain to be benched after yet another quiet display against Barbastro. Instead, it will be Ferran Torres starting on the left flank, after featuring as a No. 9 in the Copa del Rey clash.

Robert Lewandowski will reclaim his starting spot in the centre-forward position, but the Poland captain will need to bring his A-game tonight. Finally, Raphinha should start on the right wing, ahead of academy ace Lamine Yamal.

Barcelona Probable Lineup: Pena, Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde, Roberto, De Jong, Gundogan, Raphinha, Lewandowski, Ferran.

Substitutes

With Pedri expected to be ready, he should get in on the action from the bench for Barcelona against Osasuna tonight. Meanwhile, new arrival Vitor Roque is another player who is certain to feature as a substitute at some point during the game.

Meanwhile, there could also be minutes for young talents such as Lamine Yamal, Fermin Lopez, and Marc Guiu.

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