Gavi, Ferran start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could line up against Real Valladolid
Barcelona will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they lock horns with Real Valladolid at Estadio Jose Zorrilla tonight in La Liga.
The trophy celebrations last weekend at Spotify Camp Nou were grand, but prior to that, the newly-crowned Spanish champions had fallen to a 2-1 defeat to Real Sociedad.
With only three games left to be played, Xavi Hernandez & co. will be hoping to end the season on a strong note by racking up wins, while also aiming to maintain their excellent defensive record.
As was the case last weekend, Barcelona will once again go into tonight’s game without the services of Pedri and Ronald Araujo, who are recovering from minor fitness problems. Meanwhile, Jules Kounde also misses out due to an issue he picked up against Real Sociedad.
Barça Universal takes a look at how Xavi might line his team up against relegation-battlers Valladolid tonight at Jose Zorrilla.
Despite there being talks of Inaki Pena getting a game, it is very likely that Barcelona will stick with Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal against Real Valladolid tonight.
But, there will be changes made in the defensive unit, starting with the right-back slot where Sergi Roberto could come in to replace Alejandro Balde. On the opposite flank, veteran star Jordi Alba should get the nod once again.
With Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde unavailable due to fitness issues, Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso will likely be the centre-back pairing that Xavi turns to tonight.
Gavi is back after serving out his suspension for an accumulation of cards. The 18-year-old should reclaim his starting berth in the middle of the park, at the expense of Franck Kessie. Meanwhile, Frenkie de Jong should continue to feature from the get-go once again for the champions.
As for the pivot position, there could be a change, with Xavi likely to experiment with Eric Garcia in the No. 6 role once again amid plans of turning him into a full-fledged defensive midfielder ahead of the next season.
Moving into the final third of the pitch, one change could be on the cards for Barcelona, with Ferran Torres likely to come in on the left flank, at the expense of Raphinha.
Robert Lewandowski and Ousmane Dembele should retain their places in the frontline, with the former still gunning for the Zamora Trophy.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen, Roberto, Christensen, Alonso, Alba, de Jong, Garcia, Gavi, Dembele, Lewandowski, Ferran.
Pablo Torre is certain to get some minutes tomorrow, with manager Xavi Hernandez confirming as much in his press conference on Monday. Ansu Fati and Raphinha could also come on as substitutes at some point in the second period, possibly at the expense of Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres.
Alejandro Balde could be called upon to provide a greater attacking vigour down the flanks if needed. Marc Casado has made the cut to the matchday squad and could be given a few minutes off the bench if things are going well for Barcelona against Valladolid.