With the next Champions League match knocking on the door, Barcelona prepares for a vital clash in the fierce battle for the one remaining spot to advance through the group stages from the group of death.
Date: Wednesday, 12th October
Competition: UEFA Champions League
Venue: Camp Nou
Time: 9.00 pm CEST (Barcelona)
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
Fc Barcelona now welcome Inter Milan to their very own fortress in Catalonia, the Camp Nou. A win against Inter Milan would keep the hopes alive, whereas a defeat would all but vanquish any chances of progressing further into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
The performance against Celta Vigo had not fuelled much optimism within Culé’s hearts across the globe. Yet knowing the qualities of this team and the potential they possess, there is reason to have faith in Xavi’s men coming out as victors.
In terms of form, Inter have won their only league fixture following their last game against Barcelona, overcoming a 9th-placed Sassuolo with a 2-1 win. On the other hand, La Blaugrana also won their only league game as well following their defeat against the Italian side. Both teams will come into this game hoping to ignite just the right spark they’d need to revitalize their own team’s momentum.
In terms of tactical setups when it comes to the opposition, not many changes were made since. In the game against Sassuolo, Simone Inzaghi went with the same formation as the one he used against Barcelona, a very mobile version of his preferred 3-5-2 formation. As seen before, the wing-backs are vital to Inzaghi’s plans, whether it be offensively or defensively.
Xavi will be hoping his wingers would be able to break free from their clutches this time around, however, as last time it was due to how restricted the Barcelona wingers were that the Catalans weren’t able to produce even a handful of quality chances for themselves.
Another lesson to learn would be to close down space quicker, as Inter Milan relies on their midfielders and their ability to take on quality long-range shots as a great alternative should other routes fail to create openings. Negligence towards this ended up biting Barcelona in their last meeting, as a great long shot from Calhanoglu proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Goalkeeper: Marc Andre Ter Stegen
The German international is in the form of his life. The definitive starter as Barcelona’s first-choice goalkeeper.
Right-back: Frenkie De Jong
The unorthodox reports may have more essence to them than previously thought. There now exists a strong possibility that Frenkie De Jong may just be deployed as the Right-Back in a default 4-3-3 system by Xavi.
Center-back: Eric Garcia
One of the only two natural center-backs Barcelona have available right now, the young Spaniard will be hoping to impress both manager and fans alike come Wednesday.
Center-back: Gerard Pique
Solid in his previous outing against Celta Vigo, Gerard Pique might as well be Barcelona’s towering hope in that defensive line. And much hope rests on the shoulder of the veteran defender.
CDM: Sergio Busquets
Seemed a bit out of the game in the previous outing, Sergio Busquets possesses both the quality and the manager’s trust to enable Barcelona to see this crucial game out the way they want to.
Undoubtedly a lot is asked of this ingenious youngster at times, and yet again there will be plenty of eyes on him to make the difference when it matters.
A tenacious presser and an intelligent playmaker, Gavi has all the tools required to bring forth his best qualities and get his revenge from Inter and their bullish attempts to mock him, in particular by Bastoni.
Right-Winger: Ousmane Dembele
Lackluster and frustrating to watch in recent prior games, Ousmane Dembele will have a lot to prove once he goes into this fixture. Yet if he plays his cards right, the Frenchman can make a world of difference.
Left-Winger: Ansu Fati
Ansu Fati has the ability to invert and link up with Lewandowski and it can create pressure on the defensive back-line. Ansu Fati is good with left-back overlap dynamics, cuts in well, skillful in close spaces, and has an eye for the goal.
Centre Forward: Robert Lewandowski
Despite his individual quality, it has become clear as day that not everything can be left upon Lewandowski to figure a way out of. Providing him with chances to finish will be instrumental for the supporting cast around him to enable the Pole to make an impact.
Expected Formation: 4-3-3
Goal Keeper: Ter Stagen
Defenders: Balde, Eric, Pique, Frenkie
Midfielders: Pedri, Busquets, Gavi
Forwards: Dembele, Lewandowski, Raphinha