The upcoming clash against Girona will be the final matchday for FC Barcelona in January. Up against their Catalan rivals in La Liga, this final match of the month will be one that La Blaugrana will be hoping to emerge from as victors to put a fine end to a rather impressive first month of the year overall.
However, due to some massive fixtures coming up right after this game, it is a very likely assumption that this team that Xavi deploys against Girona will end up being a rotated one.
With the notable absentees from across the board being up front for Barcelona, as both Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres are still set to miss out this game before ending their respective suspensions, it is likely that Culers get to see a front 3 of Ansu Fati, Raphinha and Dembele, with the latter two occupying the right and left wings respectively.
While Fati has had somewhat of an inconsistent set of performances, with him being particularly nullified while having been deployed as a Centre forward last time out against Getafe, this match may prove to be more fruitful given that it’s an opponent that would likely not sit back as much as the prior occurrence saw Getafe do.
Ideally, a maximum amount of rotation would be a good idea considering the games coming up ahead. With Sergio Busquets having his age and consequent recovery problems to worry about, he ought to be given a rest in this Catalan derby.
Pedri is another player that should not be risked unless absolutely necessary, given his injury scare against Real Sociedad that ended up being nothing major and simply an exterior bruise. The youngster should be kept protected at all costs if possible.
Franck Kessie, Frenkie De Jong and Gavi are more than capable enough to replace those being rested and do a good enough job to orchestrate the midfield given their respective quality and merits.
This game may see Ronald Araujo remain in the starting eleven following Xavi choosing to have rested the Uruguayan against Getafe, so he should be fit enough to play this game as well. His French and Danish partners, Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen, in defence are perhaps going to be rested though given the follow-up matches coming up afterwards.
Alejandro Balde may also be given a rest to allow Jordi Alba or perhaps even Marcos Alonso to take his place and get some game time. Eric Garcia in the centre of the defence alongside Araujo and Sergi Roberto coming in to fill in for Kounde at right back seem to be the other potential changes that may happen in this upcoming Catalan derby.