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Three talking points ahead of Cadiz vs Barcelona

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Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Just 72 hours after their hectic game against PSG in France, Barcelona undertake another tiring journey to the Nuevo Mirandilla Stadium in Cadiz.

With the Catalans set to take on PSG and Real Madrid in their next two games after tomorrow night, it is clear that the manager will look to take several bold decisions on the night. Yet, the game will be far from simple.

When the two teams met earlier this season, Barcelona were forced to dig deep into their resources for the three points at home. Only an 82nd-minute strike from Pedri and a stoppage-time finish by Ferran Torres gave the team the win.

Cadiz are currently in the relegation zone, three points behind 17th-placed Celta and are thus desperate for a win. Playing against Mauricio Pellegrino’s side under such circumstances, needless to say, will be anything but simple.

Barça Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Cadiz vs Barcelona.

Key suspensions

Xavi had a nearly fully-fit squad heading into the game against Paris Saint-Germain earlier this week. For the upcoming clash, however, he will be without the services of three key players, albeit not through injury.

Robert Lewandowski, Joao Cancelo and Inigo Martinez all miss the trip to Cadiz through an accumulation of yellow cards. While it is a big blow to the manager’s plans, the good news is that they should all be back for El Clasico.

The suspensions, in a way, serve Barcelona and Xavi well for they force the manager’s hand into resting two players who have been overworked in recent months – Lewandowski and Cancelo.

The Polish striker shone brightly against PSG and was a big part of Barcelona’s win on the night. He could really use the rest before the all-important second leg, and tomorrow’s clash could thus see Vitor Roque get his chance to shine.

The Brazilian phenom has not been involved as much as he would have liked since his arrival, and tomorrow could be the day he proves his mettle on the big stage.

The situation is similar at left-back between Joao Cancelo and Hector Fort. The La Masia starlet’s performance will be even more critical, however, for there is a chance he may be asked to start the second leg vs Paris to provide additional defensive cover against Achraf Hakimi.

Momentum matters

Less than seven days separate the two legs of Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie. The clash that falls between the two legs, needless to say, will be critical from a momentum point of view.

Momentum on Barcelona’s side. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Barcelona are coming off perhaps their biggest win of the season so far – a 3-2 triumph over PSG away from home. They do hold the advantage heading into the second leg, but both Xavi and Joan Laporta are firm that the job is far from done.

The second leg in Catalonia will, in all probability, be a more difficult challenge than the first half. Barcelona’s efforts tomorrow, thus, must remain on keeping the steam and riding on the high. A defeat at this point, after all, could ruin the atmosphere in the dressing room.

Staying on the subject of momentum, one must also remember that Barcelona’s place in the league title race is also at stake.

Real Madrid may be a solid eight points away, but with El Clasico coming up next week, it could well be Barcelona’s final chance to get back into the title race.

After all, Los Blancos are in a tricky spot in the UCL and could look to rest big stars for the weekend’s clash against Mallorca. The Catalans must be ready to pounce on any dropped points.

The rotation equation

It is no secret that Xavi will look to balance out his starting XI against Cadiz with the right tinge of rotations. How the manager can strike the optimal balance is a topic worth discussing.

As revealed earlier, two rotations on the night are forced from Xavi’s point of view, with Roque and Fort likely to come into the XI. The rest of the lineup, needless to say, will be constructed around the constants.

No changes are expected in defence, with Jules Kounde, Pau Cubarsi and Ronald Araujo keeping their three spots and looking to continue their healthy chemistry. There is, however, a chance that Mikayil Faye is given a run at centre-back.

In midfield, however, both Sergi Roberto and Andreas Christensen must start against Cadiz. The duo are suspended for the second leg of the quarterfinal and can thus put in a full shift without risking over-burden.

The Dane will thus start as the pivot with Sergi Roberto deployed ahead of him. Considering that Ilkay Gundogan is better rested on the night, Xavi could look to place Frenkie de Jong in midfield and give him continuity after a long injury period.

Lamine Yamal and Raphinha, are better rested against Cadiz, especially given Xavi’s abundance of resources in the attack. Ferran Torres and Joao Felix are the top contenders to flank Roque on the night, starting on the right and left wing respectively.

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