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Heavy rotation: Predicted Barcelona lineup in La Liga season-ender against Villarreal



Photo by JAIME REINA/AFP via Getty Images

With second place in La Liga secured, and Champions League qualification alongside it, Barcelona will end their season on a relative high after a disastrous start, regardless of the result against Villarreal.

As there is not much left to play for, coach Xavi Hernandez can afford to field a heavily rotated lineup in the final game of the 2021/22 season.

The Blaugrana will be aiming to end the season on a high, but Xavi will also most likely give some of the less favoured players a run-out. They will look to impress ahead of a long summer window with plenty of sales planned.

The Starters

With rumours of a sale for Marc Andre ter Stegen, Xavi could give the nod to youngster Arnau Tenas to see if he deserves more minutes next season, with Clement Lenglet and Oscar Mingueza ahead of him, especially after the latter’s solid outing against Getafe.

Both centre-backs could be playing their last game for Barcelona, but will be eager to try and change the manager and board’s minds.

On either side of the centre-backs, we could see Dani Alves and another rare start for Alejandro Balde. Gavi and Frenkie de Jong could feature, with Riqui Puig completing the midfield in potentially his last game for the club.

Can the energetic Balde make an impression? (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Up front, Xavi could stick to the regulars to ensure goal threat with Ousmane Dembele and Memphis Depay on either side of Luuk de Jong who is also set to leave after his loan spell ends.

Predicted Barcelona XI:

Memphis · Luuk · Dembele
Gavi · de Jong · Puig
Balde · Lenglet · Mingueza · Alves

The Bench

Xavi is likely to use all five substitutes, handing minutes to many players who are on the cusp of leaving.

The entire attack could be reshuffled, with Martin Braithwaite, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traore all making cameos. Traore and Braithwaite are also on the list of potential departures for the summer, and the Dane could enjoy a final run after a lengthy injury layoff.

The gaffer could bring in Sergio Busquets in case he needs to batten down the hatches and control the tempo a little more, and also hand minutes to Samuel Umtiti, another player on the verge of leaving.

Jandro Orellana has also been named in the Barcelona squad, and if the Catalans are in control by the second half, he could feature instead of Busquets to give the veteran a full rest.

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