Cancelo, Fort start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could line up against Villarreal

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 19: Joao Cancelo of FC Barcelona looks on during the UEFA Champions League match between FC Barcelona and Royal Antwerp FC at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on September 19, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

FC Barcelona take on Villarreal CF in their next game in La Liga EA Sports. The Catalan giants have already suffered in two domestic competitions, and they do not want to do so in a third. Having already crashed out of the Spanish Super Cup and Copa Del Ray, Barcelona now shift their focus towards the league.

Xavi’s tenure as Barça coach has already begun to show its vulnerabilities, and it seems that there will be more challenges to overcome before the credibility of his project is regained. For this reason, the upcoming clash against Villarreal is of great importance to Barcelona.

This is how Xavi could thus field his Barça eleven to take on Villarreal.

Expected Line-up:

Goalkeeper: Inaki Pena

With Marc-Andre Ter Stegen back to training on grass, it is only a matter of time before he returns. However, until he does, Inaki Pena remains the primary goalkeeper for Barcelona. The Spaniard continues to have a lot of the team’s faith in him.

Left-back: Joao Cancelo

Despite the absence of Alejandro Balde, Barcelona have faith in the abilities of Joao Cancelo. The Portuguese fullback could finally return against Villarreal and his presence could give Xavi a clear solution at the left-back position.

Centre-back: Ronald Araujo

The Uruguayan defender, despite his injury scare, has trained normally with the team recently. His presence will surely give Barcelona a great edge both mentally and defensively.

Centre-back: Jules Kounde

The only senior central defender who is currently fully fit, the Frenchman’s presence against Villarreal seems almost guaranteed at this point. His performance will be key to ensuring that Marcelino’s team stays away from the Barcelona goal.

Right-back: Hector Fort

With Balde injured and Joao Cancelo potentially covering for him, Hector Fort is presented with an opportunity. After several games of playing as a temporary left-back, the 17-year-old could be given a chance to shine for Barcelona in his most natural position.

CDM: Frenkie De Jong

Despite the lengths to which the Dutchman and some of his other teammates had to go to in the last game, his presence seems undeniable against Villarreal. Frenkie De Jong, at his best, remains an invaluable asset for Xavi’s Barcelona.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan

The German midfielder continues to provide confidence and composure to this young Barça team. His presence has been great for the side thus far, and Xavi will be hoping that he continues to provide service and quality to his team.

CM: Pedri

Despite still being unable to finish games due to his injury record, Pedri remains an elite asset for Barça. His creativity and magic can often bail out the team from tough situations, and knowing Barcelona there will be tough situations against Villarreal.

Left-winger: Ferran Torres

Arguably enjoying his best form in quite some time, Ferran Torres is crucial for Barcelona right now. His scoring abilities seem to finally have found their rightful place, and the longer he continues on this trajectory the better for Barça.

Centre-forward: Robert Lewandowski

The Polish ace continues to leave Barcelona uncertain about him. While he still has the ability to pop up in the right place at the right time, his finishing in front of goal has been inconsistent at best. For now, however, he also remains the purest number ‘9’ at Xavi’s disposal.

Right-winger: Lamine Yamal

Very few players can boast to be as good as Lamine Yamal at the age of 16. Scoring a wonder goal against Athletic Club is hard for even the most seasoned of veterans, but the young Spaniard managed it with great skill. While there are those who doubt him for his misses, it is clear to most that he is truly special.

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