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Fermin, Roque start in a 4-2-3-1: How Barcelona should lineup agianst Las Palmas

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona return to action after a fortnight of international duty as they take on Las Palmas tomorrow evening at the Olympic Montjuic Stadium.

The last two meetings between these sides ended in a dramatic, and slightly controversial win for Barcelona as Ilkay Gundogan stepped up to score a 93rd-minute penalty to take home a 1-2 win.

Ahead of this game, though, Barcelona and Las Palmas are in rather polar opposite forms.

Garcia Pimienta’s side are facing their worst form under the former Barcelona manager. They have not won any of their last five games, and have only registered one win in their last eight.

The Catalans, on the contrary, are enjoying a resurgence of brilliance, and are unbeaten across their last ten games; a streak that includes a 3-1 win against Napoli in the Champions League, and most recently a 0-3 win away from home against Atletico Madrid.

While Barcelona are expected to take this game seriously, they will definitely have one eye on the Champions League clash against PSG in three days. Keeping that in mind, BU takes a jab at how Xavi should lineup his team vs Las Palmas.

Defence: Inigo in, Araujo out

Ronald Araujo was called up for international duty by Uruguay, but was then sent home after the first game by Marcelo Bielsa to show support to Barcelona. The player was said to have no injury.

He has not, however, trained with the team ahead of the weekend and could be rested completely to keep him sharp for the PSG game.

As such, we believe Inigo Martinez deserves the nod to start in central defence alongside Pau Cubarsi, who also did not play an awful lot of minutes with Spain.

The duo started and kept a clean sheet vs Mallorca a few weeks ago, and seemed to have unexpectedly solid chemistry.

Joao Cancelo did not participate vs Atletico Madrid at all, and only ended up playing 88 minutes during the international break. He should definitely be started as the left-back, while Jules Kounde is expected to receive the nod on the right.

Behind them, Marc-Andre ter Stegen will start in goal again, hoping to keep his fifth consecutive clean sheet in La Liga.

Midfield: Roberto retains his spot

Andreas Christensen picked up a knock to his Achilles ahead of the Atletico clash, and ended up staying back in Barcelona during the break. The Dane will likely miss the Las Palmas clash alongside Araujo.

With Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, and Gavi also injured, Xavi will likely not make any changes to this midfield for this game.

Ilkay Gundogan will be the first name on the team sheet even though he deserves some rest before the UCL blockbuster. He will start in the double pivot alongside Sergi Roberto, who had a rather impressive performance vs Atleti.

Essential. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Fermin Lopez should round off the trident, and deservedly so after scoring a goal each in his last two game for Barcelona.

Attack: Lewandowski rested

If reports are to believed, Robert Lewandowski has returned from the international break rather ‘exhausted’, and understandably so after playing 210 minutes for Poland.

He will be rested, preserved, and iced ahead of the PSG clash, while the onus of the number 9 falls to €40 million signing Vitor Roque. The Brazilian has started just one game previously in the league, but is coming off solid cameos against Mallorca and Atletico.

Ferran Torres is expected to be fit and gunning for a spot for this game, but it seems unlikely that he started immediately after a two-month lay off.

Instead, Joao Felix should retain his position as the left-winger, while Raphinha starts on the right.

Lamine Yamal is, of course, in contention, but after ±120 minutes over the last week, Xavi should keep him in a bubble-wrap so he can be fully fit in Paris.

Roque
Felix · Fermin · Raphinha
Roberto · Gundogan
Cancelo · Inigo · Cubarsi · Kounde
ter Stegen

Substitutes

Keeping some of the key players unscathed should be the number one priority from this game. As such, we expect Xavi to call on Oriol Romeu at some point to replace Gundogan, while Hector Fort could switch with Jules Kounde.

Marc Casado could be in for another appearance off the bench, too, if Barcelona are able to finish off the game soon enough.

Having just returned from injury, Ferran Torres is also in contention to get game-time so he can return to match fitness for PSG should Xavi opt to start him.

While it would not be the best idea to rely on Lewandowski, Marc Guiu and Lamine Yamal could be asked to come on to do some damage in the second half, especially if the game hangs in the balance.

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