Barcelona expected to rotate players for Shakhtar clash – report

Xavi Hernandez during the training session before the UEFA Champions League match against Royal Antwerp FC, in Barcelona, on 18th Septemnber 2023.
Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images

FC Barcelona continue to clearly showcase a lack of cohesion in recent games. The Catalan giants have struggled in terms of creating offensive danger as well as allowing their players to work their magic. However, the reasons for this could be plenty.

Fatigue could be a key factor that can keep players from performing at their best. The injuries within the team have also been rather troublesome for Barcelona.

As a result, there is a belief that the upcoming UEFA Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk could see Xavi make some changes to the side.

Rotations incoming

According to SPORT, Barcelona coach Xavi could look to make rotations in both the upcoming games. The first against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, and the other against Alaves in La Liga. Considered as ‘favorable’ matches for Barcelona, some less prominent stars may get a chance to feature.

Defensive opportunities

One of the names being highlighted is that of Marcos Alonso. Already struggling to get minutes and even unwanted by Barcelona beyond this season, the veteran Spanish defender has had little luck due to the incorporation of even more defenders. However, the game against Shakhtar could see him feature.

Another player that seems likely to feature for Barcelona is Andreas Christensen. The Danish defender was rested against Real Sociedad but could possibly now feature against Barça’s Ukrainian opponents.

Rest for key players

Similarly, Oriol Romeu could be another player that may now get some minutes. Having struggled to get chances recently, even the aged pivot may be given a shot. With Frenkie De Jong still out and Ilkay Gundogan also needing rest, it could be Romeu’s time to shine.

However, rotations are not being made simply to divide game time. These players will be expected to perform at the highest level if they do end up getting their chances.

Both the games against Shakhtar and Alaves, despite being seen as favorable, are crucial encounters. One could guarantee progress to the UEFA Champions League knockout stages as group leaders, while the other ensures that Barça remains hot on the tail of their league rivals.

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