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Gundogan, Romeu start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could line up against Arsenal

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Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

A week after arriving in the United States of America, Barcelona will play their first pre-season friendly of the tour later tonight when they take on Arsenal at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

The Blaugrana were scheduled to kick off their pre-season tour over the weekend with a match against Juventus. However, a sudden breakout of a stomach bug within the squad forced that game to be cancelled.

Heading into the contest against Arsenal, though, Xavi has almost the entire squad available, with the players having rested and recovered from the stomach virus.

And the manager will be eager to test out his players against the Premier League’s second-best team from the last season. The Barcelona boss will also be intent on seeing how some of his new signings will fit into the team before the new season kicks off.

However, it must be noted that not all new arrivals will be available for the game as Inigo Martinez is unlikely to be risked as he continues his recovery from injury. Alejandro Balde, too, might not be rushed back after almost two months on the sidelines.

Here’s how Barcelona could line up against Arsenal later tonight at the SoFi Stadium.

Starters

With Julian Araujo not linking up with the team and Sergino Dest out of favour, Barcelona’s first captain, Sergi Roberto, should get the nod at right-back against Arsenal.

With Alejandro Balde unlikely to be risked, Marcos Alonso should feature as the starting left-back. Youngster Alex Valle will hope to get an opportunity in the latter stages.

Ronald Araujo and Andreas Christensen could form the centre-back pairing in the starting XI, with Jules Kounde and new youth signing Mikayil Faye likely to receive minutes in the second period. Marc-Andre ter Stegen will man the goal as usual.

The middle of the park is where things get interesting given the plethora of options Xavi at his disposal. Oriol Romeu, who returned to Barça from Girona this summer, should start as the defensive midfielder.

Oriol Romeu in line to feature vs Arsenal. (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)

As for the two interior midfield slots, Xavi will have to choose from Frenkie de Jong, Gavi, Pedri, Ilkay Gundogan, Franck Kessie, and youngsters like Aleix Garrido and Fermin Lopez. And the manager could lean towards the duo of Gundogan and Pedri for the starting XI, before changing things up after the break.

Ferran Torres has reportedly shown up in great shape physically in pre-season and has caught the eye of the coaching staff. As such, the 23-year-old could get a starting opportunity against Arsenal.

Ansu Fati, too, could be in for a chance to feature against Mikel Arteta’s men, with Xavi hoping to see the 20-year-old get back to his best.

Torres and Ansu starting together could mean Robert Lewandowski will feature from the bench. Raphinha is in line to occupy the remaining attacking slot ahead of Ousmane Dembele.

Barcelona Predicted Lineup: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Araujo, Christensen, Alonso; Gundogan, Romeu, Pedri; Raphinha, Ferran, Ansu.

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