Gavi, Raphinha start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could line up against Sevilla
“We’re in a good moment, five points clear of Madrid, young people are taking the initiative, we’ve just won a title, but we need to keep it going,” Xavi said, speaking about Barcelona’s current run of form.
The said run includes a fourteen-game unbeaten streak, and even more impressively, a nine-game winning trail. Barcelona have every reason to be happy, minus maybe the Champions League, but need to maintain this rhythm ahead of another tough game tomorrow.
The Blaugranes take on Sevilla in Gameweek 20 of La Liga as they hope to maintain their five-point lead over Madrid.
The Andalusian outfit have recently puckered up things after having dropped to the relegation zone. They are coming off an impressive 3-0 win over Elche in midweek, and have won five of their last seven games across La Liga and Copa del Rey.
It will, by no means, be an easy fixture, and the first step towards the three points will start with the perfect lineup. As such, Barça Universal takes a look at how the Catalans could start the game tomorrow against Jorge Sampaoli’s men.
Leading the team from the back, we will almost definitely see new fourth captain Marc-Andre ter Stegen in action in goal again tomorrow. The German has been incredible for Barça this season, returning to form after nearly three seasons of underwhelming form.
He will be guarded by Ronald Araujo and Andreas Christensen in central defence. Ideally, this could be a game to rotate a bit, here and there, but given the historical importance of the fixture, we expect Xavi to start his best XI.
This also means the right-back spot will be opened up for Jules Kounde, but there are a few doubts at left-back after Alejandro Balde missed training today due to fever.
Ideally, missing the last training session means the player is rested. Consequentially, we expect Jordi Alba to man the left side of the back four. The Spaniard creates close to two chances per game and is level with Ousmane Dembele with seven big chances created.
Xavi has adopted Pep’s M-W formation, using four midfielders, with two of them in advanced positions, and two tucking in as a double pivot.
Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets will assume responsibility in the centre of the park for this.
Pedri will assume responsibility as the third midfielder in possession, while Gavi starts as the pseudo-left-winger. They will tuck in as twin attacking midfielders, playing off the striker while Balde provides width from the left.
Robert Lewandowski scored on his return to La Liga after serving a three-game suspension and will look to extend his lead on top of the scoring charts tomorrow.
He will be joined by Raphinha in his efforts, who has created the most number of ‘big chances’ in the Barcelona team, with eight.
The Brazilian has to fill a massive hole left by Ousmane Dembele through his injury, and has started it well with a goal against Real Betis last gameweek.
Gavi · Lewandowski · Raphinha
de Jong · Busquets · Pedri
Alba · Christensen · Araujo · Kounde
Xavi was all praise for Ansu Fati in his press conference, asking fans to keep their faith in a ‘spectacularly talented’ footballer. He will almost definitely come off the bench tomorrow, likely for one of the midfielders.
Elsewhere, Franck Kessie is expected to be introduced as a midfield reinforcement, almost as part of tradition all season. Ferran Torres could join him on the pitch, too, hoping to score his first Barcelona goal since November.
Finally, we could see some minutes for Sergi Roberto or Marcos Alonso as they come on to add more quantitative depth in defence.