Barcelona will hope to bounce back to get all three points in La Liga after a winless streak of four as they get ready to host Real Betis at the Camp Nou in Gameweek 9 of the season. Ronald Koeman has made a bucketload of changes to his team that started in midweek against Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League.
Sergiño Dest has been replaced by Sergi Roberto in the right-back slot, while Clement Lenglet, too, returns to the XI as part of the back-four. Mainstays Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba retain their place; and so does Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who enjoyed a sensational display against the Ukrainian outfit.
Koeman favourite Frenkie de Jong moves up into the midfield after playing as a centre-back against Kyiv. He will be partnering Sergio Busquets instead of Miralem Pjanic – a man slowly growing to become a beloved figure among Culés.
As a shock to everyone, Lionel Messi has been rested for Pedri as the first peg in the attacking quartet, playing in the hole behind the striker. Speaking of, that role will be occupied by Antoine Griezmann. Coming off the back of a spectacular display in midweek, Ansu Fati starts on the left, while Ousmane Dembele comes into the XI on the right, hoping to cement that forsaken role.
Confirmed Barcelona Lineup: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, de Jong; Dembele, Pedri, Fati; Griezmann
It is clear that Ronald Koeman is yet to find his best set of players, especially in the attack, with the plethora of attacking options he has. However, the same collection of players also comes in handy when you want to rest important players like Lionel Messi for important clashes. All said and done, huge burden on Pedri’s young shoulders tonight as he starts over his captain.
Source: FC Barceona
Just in: Neymar’s entourage confirms renewal with PSG as he ‘likes the project’
Fabrizio Romano has broken huge news as part of Neymar’s contract situation with Paris Saint-Germain, which all but officially announces that the Brazilian will be staying in France, contrary to what has been reported recently. The report suggests that that he will sign his extension soon, which is bound to include a massive UCL bonus.
Neymar’s entourage have confirmed his decision to stay with the Paris outfit in conversation with France Football, saying, “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project.”
Neymar is expected to sign soon his new contract with Paris Saint-Germain until June 2026, huge UCL bonus confirmed too. His entourage just announced to France Football: “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project”. 🇧🇷 #PSG https://t.co/LMnrpctSkx— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 12, 2021
PSG have, in fact, actually enjoyed success in Europe in the recent past. They reached the Champions League final last season, crumbling only to the unstoppable Bayern Munich by a mere one goal to nil. Since then, they have fired Thomas Tuchel, and hired Mauricio Pochettino, who inspired an incredible victory against Bayern in this season’s Champions League quarters. Spearheaded by Neymar and Mbappe, the capital-side hit the defending champions for three goals, conceding two.
Despite their lead in the UCL, they do not have a stronghold on the trophy with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, and Real Madrid still in the running. It becomes a lot more problematic when you realise their situation in Ligue 1.
PSG look far from comfortable in the league, which is a shocker to say the least. As it stands, Pochettino’s mean are in second place with 66 points, three adrift of Lille who top the table with one of the most impressive defensive records in Europe.
A season without either of the big trophies might force Neymar to have a change of mind, with the Barcelona project looking much more comprehensive under Joan Laporta. In fact, the new President might look at the Brazilian as the key that will allow Lionel Messi to stay at the club. We do the same rumours annually, so it is only fair if any of these ‘confirmations’ are turned on their head in the coming weeks.