Barcelona have an early kick off tomorrow as they take on Celta Vigo at the Montjuic tomorrow for La Liga gameweek six. It could be their chance to go top of the table, as Real Madrid face a real test in the for of Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
Coming off back-to-back 5-0 wins against Real Betis and Royal Antwerp, respectively, Xavi’s men will be gunning to secure their place as one of the best teams in Europe right now, especially following the coach’s renewal announcement until 2025.
Barcelona will definitely have an eye on their hectic schedule as they prepare for this game, with Mallorca lined up in midweek and Sevilla on the weekend.
As such, more rotations are imminent, which will give the chance to fringe players to start and impress the coach.
Xavi opted to start his best defensive four against Antwerp in the Champions League, which points towards more rotations in this game. Marc-Andre ter Stegen‘s spot is reserved, though, as the German will continue in goal.
Alejandro Balde could get some rest, with Marcos Alonso fit and ready to replace him as the left-back. While nowhere nearly as explosive as his compatriot, the veteran makes up it in his offensive positioning in and around the box, which could benefit the team a lot.
Inigo Martinez is yet to make his first start for Barcelona, but should get the nod ahead of Andreas Christensen tomorrow, who was suffering from discomfort in his ankle, as Xavi revealed.
He will likely partner Jules Kounde in central defence, while Joao Cancelo gets a third consecutive start as the right-back.
Oriol Romeu was benched for the UCL clash, but should return to the starting lineup for this one, especially considering the rotations in defence. He will set up base in defensive midfield.
Gavi is due for some rest, and will likely start from the bench, with Frenkie de Jong and Ilkay Gundogan handed the keys to central midfield.
Joao Felix is a man motivated right now, having scored three goals and set up one in his first three games as a Barcelona player.
The Portuguese is obviously in contention to start, but should be benched in favour of Ferran Torres to provide explosiveness on the wing, especially with the lack of Balde at left-back.
Robert Lewandowski will continue to spearhead the team as the sole no. 9, finally returning to form after a goalscoring drought.
Lamine Yamal is expected to be the final piece of the puzzle at right-wing, taking over from Raphinha. The 16-year-old made his Champions League debut, but is still looking for his first goal in blaugrana colours.
With context to this predicted starting lineup, one can expect Gavi to be one of the first names Xavi resorts to from the bench. The Spaniard provides too much quality in all scenarios of the game to benched for 90 minutes.
Ronald Araujo is back in the squad list after missing five games due to injury, and could be called into action to get him back to match fitness.
Raphinha and Joao Felix could replace any two of the forwards tomorrow to give everyone ample rest, and not to forget Sergi Roberto, either, who evidently has Xavi’s trust and support.