Journalist Javi Miguel has confirmed via AS that Ronald Araujo will start alongside Jules Kounde in the heart of defence for Barcelona in their upcoming home match against Sevilla on Friday, September 29.
Barcelona manager Xavi made several changes to his starting XI against Mallorca, with Robert Lewandowski and Koude dropping to the bench.
The reporter mentions that the duo’s return to the playing XI against Sevilla is pretty much a given. Araujo, who lined up alongside Inigo Martinez against Mallorca, will partner Kounde.
What changes will be made?
The main reason why Xavi decided to rest his star men was because of the upcoming line of fixtures.
After Barça host Sevilla, they will travel to Portugal to take on FC Porto in their second UEFA Champions League group stage game.
Given the magnitude of the Sevilla game, the manager wants to field a full-strength side and ensure that they bag a win.
In defence, it will be Kounde alongside Araujo, while Gavi will continue accompanying Ilkay Gundogan and Oriol Romeu in midfield. Lewandowski will make a return in attack.
All signs point towards the sacrifices of Inigo Martinez and Ferran Torres mostly because their performances against Mallorca left much to be desired.
Martinez had spent nearly half a year on the fringes without a starring role, while Torres, positioned as a centre-forward, had little to no impact against Mallorca.
What is tentative?
Furthermore, it is largely expected that Lamine Yamal will regain his starting position after featuring from the bench in four consecutive games.
But who he comes in for remains a question given that Raphinha scored against Mallorca and Joao Felix has been in good touch as well.
At the moment, it is crucial to see whether Joao Cancelo will be rested against Sevilla or not. There have been suggestions that the Portuguese could make way for Sergi Roberto at right-back, although it remains to be seen if Xavi does go that way.