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Barcelona planning ‘the Vinicius treatment’ for Kylian Mbappe for UCL encounter



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The quarterfinal stage of the UEFA Champions League is set to get underway this midweek, with Barcelona taking Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday evening.

It promises to be the most important game of the season for Barça as they look to gain an early advantage heading into the return leg at home.

Given the attacking might of PSG, however, Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez could fancy a few tactical changes.

Will Barcelona man-mark Mbappe?

To that end, a recent report from Mundo Deportivo has offered a detailed update on Xavi’s game plan ahead of the PSG game, especially when it comes to stopping the opposition frontline.

As per the report, Xavi is likely to adopt a man-marking scheme in an attempt to prevent the onslaught of Kylian Mbappe.

There is great fear inside the Barça camp that Mbappe could make a lot of difference on the night. As such, Xavi is likely to deploy a defender who will keep a close eye on the Frenchman throughout the game.

The Vinicius Jr treatment

Xavi has been successful with marking Vinicius. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

Barcelona have adopted similar policies in the past. For example, Xavi has usually tasked Ronald Araujo with the responsibility of containing Vinicius Junior, whenever the team plays against Real Madrid.

However, Araujo likely to operate in central defence, Xavi could hand that role to Jules Kounde, who is set to occupy the right-back position.

If anything, Kounde might be better equipped to take on Mbappe due to his pace and athleticism. Being a national teammate, Kounde has also played with Mbappe and is well aware of the threat he will bring to the table.

However, it must be noted that this man-marking scheme of Xavi has not always worked out well, such as the Super Cup final against Real Madrid earlier this season.

Xavi, therefore, may deploy this system with a certain amount of risk – but it’s a risk he has to take, if Barcelona are to retain a clean sheet this midweek.

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