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Lewandowski, Raphinha start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could lineup against Rayo Vallecano

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Barcelona kick off the season against Rayo Vallecano tomorrow night at the Camp Now, but have more problems ahead of them before that. They are struggling to register new signings for La Liga, and the final decision could come down to the last minute.

Irrespective of that, Barça did enjoy a fruitful pre-season, with the new signings adjusting to life pretty at Camp Nou pretty well. There are clear signs of the formation he wants to use, along with an evident preference for some players.

Real Madrid probably still have the upper hand over Barcelona in terms of match preparation. Coming off a Champions League plus La Liga season, they have added Aurelien Tchouameni and Antonio Rudiger to their team, which will help them push the Catalans all the way.

That said, Barcelona have spent over €150 million this summer on players, and could still add more assets to the squad before the window ends.

The Camp Nou will expect nothing less than a demolition on the opening day of the season. And assuming that all players are, in fact, registered in time, this is how we predict Barça will lineup for the encounter.

Starters

Marc-Andre ter Stegen is fit for the first time for the opening game in three seasons, and without question, starts in goal. He will hope to return to his absolute best under Xavi, as the signs have been positive so far.

Guarding him, we should see Eric Garcia and Ronald Araujo as the starting centre-backs for the defensive quartet. Gerard Pique is in contention to start as well, but that seems unlikely given Xavi’s choices in pre-season.

The centre-backs could be flanked by Sergino Dest as the right-back, while Jordi Alba picks up the slack as the left-back.

Ahead of the backline, we will see a midfield trident, with captain Sergio Busquets likely in the pivot role. Frenkie de Jong should get the nod ahead of Gavi in midfield, coming off a brilliant display in the Joan Gamper Trophy.

(Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images)

The final spot, in all likelihood, will be occupied by Pedri. The Spaniard is arguably Barcelona’s most important player ahead of the new season.

Moving to the attack, we can assume Robert Lewandowski will spearhead the team as the striker. He was phenomenal in his last outing, and a debut goal would instantly become a hit.

Ousmane Dembele and Raphinha will form the wing pairing, on the right and left respectively. They have already formed a decent bond with each other, with the Brazilian assisting Dembele twice in pre-season.

Raphinha · Lewandowski · Dembele
Pedri · Busquets · de Jong
Alba · Garcia · Araujo · Dest
ter Stegen

Substitutes

Some of the substitutes are more obvious than others. Gavi should get the chance to come in the second half in the centre of midfield. The same goes for Franck Kessie, should he be registered.

Jules Kounde might not be fit enough to make his debut tomorrow, but Andreas Christensen will almost definitely be in the mix to come off the bench for one of Garcia or Araujo.

Finally, we will probably also see both Ansu Fati and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang get a run-in, replacing two members of the attacking trio.

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