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Pedri, Garcia start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could line up against Rayo Vallecano



Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona will have a great chance to strengthen their grip on the La Liga title when they lock horns with Rayo Vallecano later tonight at the Vallecas.

The Blaugrana have an 11-point lead atop the league standings and can widen that to 14 with a win tonight after Real Madrid dropped points when they fell to a humiliating 4-2 loss to Girona FC on Tuesday.

As for Barcelona, they head into the contest against Rayo Vallecano on the back of a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid, which brought an end to a three-game winless streak. And, Xavi & co. will be keen on building on that, hoping to wrap up the title victory at the earliest possible.

Things are improving for the team on the injury front as well, as Pedri and Frenkie de Jong are back while Ousmane Dembele and Andreas Christensen are also close to returning.

Ahead of the game against Rayo Vallecano, we take a look at how Xavi could set his Barcelona team up later tonight.


Marc-Andre ter Stegen is enjoying the best phase of his career and is on the verge of breaking some legendary records. He will be looking to secure another clean sheet against Rayo Vallecano.

Jules Kounde ought to continue at right-back for Barcelona given the lack of options at Xavi’s disposal while Alejandro Balde should keep his place on the left-hand side ahead of veteran Jordi Alba.

Araujo and Alonso to start at centre-back (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)

At centre-half, there is no looking past Ronald Araujo, who is the leader of this Barcelona defence. With Andreas Christensen unavailable, Marcos Alonso could get another run-out at heart of the backline later tonight.

Club captain Sergio Busquets is missing from the squad as he serves out a one-match suspension for accumulation of cards. His absence could pave the way for Eric Garcia to start as the pivot midfielder, something that Xavi alluded to in his press conference.

Frenkie de Jong, who returned from injury against Atletico, will keep hold of his place and will again be crucial to Barcelona’s chances. The interior midfield position should be taken up by Pedri, who will be ready to start after making an appearance off the bench in the last game.

Moving into the attacking unit, Gavi will line up as the pseudo left-winger with Xavi expected to revert to deploying four central midfielders on the pitch.

It would mean Ferran Torres, the match-winner against Atleti, drops to the bench, with Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski expected to complete the Arsenal frontline.

Gavi · Lewandowski · Raphinha
Pedri · Eric · de Jong
Balde · Alonso · Araujo · Kounde
ter Stegen


Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati have made most of their appearances this season from the bench and the Spanish duo is likely to do so again tonight at the Vallecas.

Franck Kessie would be another option for Barcelona in the second period to add some physicality and energy onto the pitch. Jordi Alba is another player that Xavi tends to turn to in the latter stages of the match which could be the case again tonight.

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