Barcelona are set to kickstart their pre-season tour to the United States with a friendly against Inter Miami later tonight.
It will be the second friendly of the summer for Barça, who were held to a 1-1 draw against Unio Esportivo Olot, earlier this month.
With many new signings on board, the friendly against Inter Miami could become much more exciting for Barcelona fans and here, at Barça Universal, we will take a look at the starting eleven that may feature against the MLS outfit.
With Marc-Andre ter Stegen starting against Olot, Barcelona might want to hand Inaki Pena a chance in between the sticks. The 23-year-old is expected to serve as the understudy for ter Stegen next season, so it will be interesting to see how he performs under a bit of pressure.
Xavi opted to start a host of academy players in the back four against Olot. This time around, we can expect a more familiar central defensive partnership of Eric Garcia and Ronald Araujo. Gerard Pique is pushing to get back to the pitch as well, but he may not be fit for this encounter.
As for the full-back slots, Sergino Dest should retain his place on the right-hand side, whereas the experienced Jordi Alba may get the nod on the opposite flank.
Miralem Pjanic was expected to start against Inter Miami, as part of Barcelona’s desire to hand him a few opportunities to prove himself, after the player impressed in training.
However, the Bosnian has had to return to Nice for the birth of his second half and as such, he is out of contention for this game. His absence should pave the way for Sergio Busquets to operate as the holding midfielder, just in behind the two interior midfielders.
There is much noise over the involvement of Franck Kessie. But we expect Pedri and Gavi to start this encounter, with Kessie likely to be introduced at the start of the second half.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should spearhead the Barcelona frontline as Robert Lewandowski is unlikely to be involved for Barcelona.
The Gabonese international scored the only goal in the draw with Olot and will be hoping to net a few more against Inter Miami. He will be accompanied by the speedy presence of two wingers in Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati.
It will be the first game for Dembele since he signed a contract extension to remain at Camp Nou. With Raphinha waiting in the wings, though, the Frenchman will be under pressure to perform.
Lewandowski, as mentioned earlier, is a doubt for this game and it will not be surprising to see him completely ruled out. The same can be said for Pique while Ferran Torres is also out of the game.
As for the others, Andreas Christensen, Kessie, Raphinha, Nico and Alejandro Balde are almost destined to come on as second-half substitutes.
It will be interesting to see how Barça utilise Frenkie de Jong as well. The Dutchman has been a subject of a move away from Camp Nou, with the club determined to sanction his sale. With that in mind, the midfielder may or may not feature in this contest.
Predicted Barcelona XI vs Inter Miami:
Dest – Araujo – Garcia – Alba
Gavi – Busquets – Pedri
Dembele – Aubameyang – Fati