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Yamal, Martinez start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could line up against Athletic Club

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Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Barcelona will have an excellent opportunity to narrow the gap at the top as they take on Athletic Club this evening.

Following Real Madrid’s controversial with Valencia last night, Barça will have the chance to bridge the gap between them and the arch-rivals to just six points.

The Catalans are already in a good run of form and are coming on the back of an impressive win over Getafe.

But combing through the Athletic Club defence could be a much trickier ask. As Barcelona appoach this game, let’s take a look at how Xavi Hernandez may line up his starting eleven this evening.

Starters

Marc-Andre ter Stegen looks set to retain his position in between the sticks. The German will be aiming for a second successive clean sheet.

In the defensive unit, Xavi may make one change in central defence. While Ronald Araujo is a guaranteed starter, Xavi could introduce Inigo Martinez to the starting eleven.

The veteran centre-back knows the Bilbao attack all too well and could be a useful presence at the heart of Barça’s four-man backline.

Elsewhere in the defence, Joao Cancelo and Jules Kounde are set to retain their place in the fullback positions.

Moving into midfield, Andreas Christensen has exceeded expectations in his role as a makeshift defensive midfielder.

Andreas Christensen all set to continue in the number six role (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

There is no reason why the Danish international won’t continue in the same position, anchoring the midfield alongside the two interior midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Frenkie de Jong.

In the attacking unit, Xavi may continue to deploy Pedri in a false left-winger role. The youngster recently opened up about playing in this position, adding that he enjoys more freedom to create chances in the final third.

Pedri’s mastery and craft will be complimented by the sheer pace of the explosive Lamine Yamal. The two Barcelona youngsters will be tasked with the responsibility of opening up the Athletic Club backline.

The Barcelona frontline will be led by Robert Lewandowski. The Pole has been in scintillating form lately, notably winning the February Player of the Month award.

Lewandowski, though, must proceed with caution as he is one of four Barcelona players running the risk of suspension due to the accumulation of four yellow cards this season.

Substitutes

Xavi will have enough firepower on the bench. Raphinha, Joao Felix and Fermin Lopez are potential alternatives in the creative department, whereas Vitor Roque is another option in the number nine position.

In midfield, Oriol Romeu and Sergi Roberto should bring a wealth of experience to the table, with the latter even capable of operating as a fullback.

Speaking of the defensive unit, Xavi has Pau Cubarsi as an alternative for any of the central defenders while Hector Fort is an alternative for Kounde at right-back.

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