The strongest starting lineup that Xavi can form at Barcelona
The January transfer window saw Barcelona bolster their squad with three new additions in the form of Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, although the latter’s deal is yet to be officially announced.
That, coupled with the registration of Dani Alves, has boosted the options available at Xavi Hernandez’s disposal heading into the crucial second half of the campaign.
The depth in the squad across all possible positions means that Xavi can set out multiple starting XIs without compromising on the quality of the team.
As for the strongest lineup that the Barcelona manager can field, Marc-Andre ter Stegen would be the undisputed starter between the sticks.
Up ahead in defence, Dani Alves should be a shoo-in at right-back considering the impact he has made in the short time since his return, having already made two assists in four games. Jordi Alba remains the best bet at left-back, despite his recent struggles on the pitch.
Gerard Pique and Ronald Araujo would be the obvious picks at the heart of the defence with the likes of Eric Garcia and Clement Lenglet providing cover.
Captain Sergio Busquets will be the defensive midfielder with Nico Gonzalez as an alternative for the veteran superstar. With Pedri back from injury, his inclusion in the starting XI is also a no-brainer.
As for the other midfield slot, it would be a toss-up between Frenkie de Jong and Gavi, although the Dutchman’s experience could give him an edge. More so, considering that Xavi will need to manage young Gavi’s game-time carefully and not risk burning him out.
With Ousmane Dembele unlikely to be used again and Ansu Fati out with an injury, the two new signings, Ferran Torres and Adama Traore become the obvious picks in the wide attacking slots for Barcelona. Aubameyang, once officially announced, should be the preferred No. 9 ahead of Luuk de Jong.
Barça will have enough depth in attack with Memphis Depay, Ez Abde, Martin Braithwaite, Ferran Jutgla all available as backup.