Barcelona will travel to Estadi Montilivi today as they gear up to take on local rivals Girona in La Liga.
The Blaugrana are currently on a 12-game unbeaten run across all competitions, winning 11 of those. Their last league game ended in a 1-0 win over Getafe, which was followed by yet another narrow victory against Real Sociedad in Copa del Rey.
Girona, meanwhile, are not going through their best period, having won just one of their last five games in all competitions, with their latest match ending in a 1-0 loss to Villarreal.
Heading into the game, Xavi Hernandez has no injury concerns, although he will be without Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres, who are suspended. The manager has already indicated that he will make a few changes to the lineup against Girona.
And Barça Universal takes a look at how the Catalan heavyweights could set up against their neighbours at Montilivi.
While Xavi has admitted he will rotate his troops for today’s game, there will be no change in goal, where Marc-Andre ter Stegen has been in imperious form, bailing out Barcelona from tricky situations on numerous occasions this term.
There could be alterations to the defensive unit, though, with Sergi Roberto expected to come in at right-back. It should allow Jules Kounde to move to his preferred centre-back position, with Ronald Araujo likely to be benched amid the risk of suspension.
Marcos Alonso, fresh from his new contract extension, could be in line to partner Kounde at the heart of the Blaugrana defence, with Andreas Christensen also likely to be given a breather. Eric Garcia would also be an option for Xavi. Meanwhile, Jordi Alba should start at left-back.
Sergio Busquets is another player who is at the risk of being suspended for the next game against Real Betis if he picks up a yellow card. The veteran captain could, thus, be protected by Xavi, with Frenkie de Jong in line to start as the lone pivot.
Franck Kessie should also get a rare start in La Liga ahead of Pedri, who picked up a knock against Sociedad earlier in the week. Gavi should occupy the third midfield slot, returning to his natural habitat after playing on the wing in the midweek cup tie.
With no Lewandowski and Torres, Ansu Fati becomes the obvious pick for the centre-forward slot for Barcelona against Girona. The Spaniard should be flanked by the in-form Ousmane Dembele on the left and Raphinha on the right.
Dembele · Fati · Raphinha
Gavi · de Jong · Kessie
Alba · Alonso· Kounde · Roberto
Pedri could be called upon by Xavi in case Barcelona have a tough time breaking open the Girona backline. Meanwhile, Eric Garcia could also get a few minutes off the bench in the second period, having hardly played of late.
Angel Alarcon remains the only attacking option off the bench for Xavi and could make his La Liga debut against Girona, although Alejandro Balde could also be asked to play in an advanced position on the left flank should the team need more attacking impetus.