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Official: Barcelona starting XI to face Valencia — Pedri, Coutinho start together; de Jong benched

Udhav Arora

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Barcelona have announced the starting XI that will take on Valencia at Camp Nou tonight, with one major change in the lineup. Philippe Coutinho has come to replace Koeman-favourite Frenkie de Jong in what can be presumed to be a 4-1-4-1. Pedri is the other attacking midfielder in the team, while Lionel Messi starts up-top.

Martin Braithwaite retains his place, and so does Antoine Griezmann. This duo will likely play on the wings, with Braithwaite occupying the left flank. Sergio Busquets starts his third game in a row as the solitary pivot.

Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba will provide width from the back, as they did against Real Sociedad. As a surprise to everyone, however, Oscar Mingueza and Ronald Araujo continue in the heart of the defence, while Clement Lenglet starts on the bench. No doubt over the goalkeeper as Marc-Andre ter Stegen continues in goal.

Barcelona Starting XI: Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Mingueza, Alba; Busquets; Griezmann, Pedri, Coutinho, Braithwaite; Messi

Ronald Koeman has put all his cards on the table, revealing four 10s. Their placement on the pitch, however, is still very much in question. It could very well be a 4-2-3-1 with Pedri as part of the double pivot and Coutinho occupying the left-wing. The lineup is bound to confuse Javi Garcia as much as it will confuse fans, however, which cannot be a negative thing.

Editor-in-Chief. | They say a picture says a thousand words, but I intend to write a thousand words about a picture I clicked.

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La Liga chief Javier Tebas talks summer transfers and fan return to stadiums

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In a conference held by ADEA Forum (Association of managers and executives of Aragon) in Zaragoza, Javier Tebas spoke on a wide range of topics surrounding La Liga.

Mostly, the La Liga president spoke regarding the league’s bounce back from the pandemic and some potential plans for the league to restore public crowds. He also discussed the losses incurred, the summer transfers, among other things.

The Condition of La Liga

Tebas started the conference by claiming that the situation for the Spanish league is comparatively better than other leagues.

Speaking on this, he said, “The situation is worrying, but not so much. I think that of this pandemic the Spanish League is the one that is going to turn out less badly compared to the others.

He then spoke about the losses incurred in Spanish football, with the net loss amounting to €1 billion by the 30th of September.

On the losses, Tebas said, “Of this billion, 750 have been financed by banks or investment funds, the latter the majority based in London, and the rest have been done by the clubs pulling their cash.”

Additionally, he mentioned that it was big clubs that were affected stronger than the smaller clubs, due to the huge loss of income from the lack of crowds, among other profitable economic activities that clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona enjoy above others.

A return for crowds to stadiums

When speaking on a return of crowds to stadiums, the La Liga chief seemed tremendously confident in their ability to host crowds as early as tomorrow. He claimed that they would have to run at between 20% to 30% capacity; nonetheless, the Spaniard was confident that teams would be more than capable of hosting crowds very soon.

Speaking on the same, he said, “There is a working group for the return [of fans] to the stadiums. I hope that in the last league games we can see the public in a proportional amount.”

Upcoming transfer window

Speaking on the summer transfer window, the president claimed that there will indeed be a lower amount of transfers as there were in the previous window. Tebas said, “They have already been lower in winter. There may be occasional and exceptional operations, but globally it will decrease. There will be exchanges of players. It’s going to be lower than last year.

Accordingly, clubs are going to have to dig into their academy reserves more and more as the global and financial situations amend over time.

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