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Barcelona to make one key defensive change against Athletic Club



(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona will have the opportunity to bridge the gap to Real Madrid to just six points as they take on Athletic Club later this evening.

Following Real Madrid’s draw with Valencia last night, this is Barcelona’s chance to make a statement and continue their stellar form in the league.

Given the way Barça have performed in recent weeks, one would expect Xavi to make minimal changes to the starting eleven.

However, as we approach this game, Mundo Deportivo suggests Xavi may introduce a key change in the defensive department.

Inigo Martinez to face his former club

That change could come in the form of Inigo Martinez replacing Pau Cubarsi in the starting eleven.

It appears Xavi is ready to put his faith in the experienced Martinez, as he takes on his former club at San Mames.

Inigo Martinez is excited to face his former club (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Before joining Barcelona in the summer, Martinez spent several years at Athletic Club. He knows the club’s attacking patterns all too well and is aware of the attackers’ certain skillsets, including their star player Inaki Williams.

Inigo Martinez, therefore, is more than likely to return to central defence, at the expense of the young Cubarsi.

The young centre-back has exceeded expectations with his performances in recent weeks. But it appears Xavi is counting on Martinez’s experience and knowhow of the opposition for this important fixture.

Other changes expected vs Athletic Club

Inigo Martinez’s introduction to the starting eleven will not be Barcelona’s only change this evening.

Xavi is also expected to bring in Lamine Yamal into the attacking unit, ahead of Joao Felix and Raphinha, whereas Pedri is likely to retain his place as a false winger.

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