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

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 27: Hector Fort of FC Barcelona looks on during the LaLiga EA Sports match between FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on January 27, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

The next challenge for Xavi and FC Barcelona arrives in La Liga EA Sports already. The Blaugranes, despite knowing that this is Xavi’s final season, continue to soldier on with heavy news on their shoulders. However, Barcelona will have to put those worries aside to overcome their next opponent.

Led by Jagoba Arrasate, CA Osasuna are more than a capable opponent for the Catalan giants to take on. Currently sitting in 12th place on the league table, they have proven time and time again this season that they are capable of causing problems even for the biggest teams.

Keeping this in mind, and the new injuries in the squad, Xavi will be hoping to field as strong a lineup as he can. Here is how Barcelona could line up against CA Osasuna.

Goalkeeper: Inaki Pena

Albeit capable of blunders at times, Inaki Pena still remains the next in line to Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. Until the German goalkeeper makes his full return following his recovery, the Spaniard remains Barça’s primary choice in between the sticks.

Left-Back: Joao Cancelo

With Alejandro Balde having recently undergone surgery and Marcos Alonso still in recovery, the options for Xavi at left-back are limited. However, Joao Cancelo presents himself as a versatile choice to be deployed there and could be the answer for Barcelona.

Centre-back: Jules Kounde

While there is a debate as to whether Pau Cubarsi deserves to start or not yet, it feels like Xavi will choose to go with experience. With that in mind, Jules Kounde becomes the natural choice to commandeer the central areas of the defense if his flanks are covered by others.

Centre-back: Ronald Araujo

There is no doubt that Ronald Araujo has shown himself to be far from perfect, and there are momentary lapses of judgment in his play from time to time. However, he remains the most defensively reliable center-back that Barcelona have and one of their most important leaders.

Right-back: Hector Fort

The young fullback continues to provide new joy to the Barcelona first team. His inclusion has given depth both to the right-back position as well as the left-back one. However, his specialty lies on the right, and it is about time he gets his start there.

CDM: Frenkie De Jong

Realistically, Frenkie De Jong has not been at his best in the last few outings. There are glimpses where he shows what he is capable of, but Barcelona need him to consistently deliver because the team is heavily dependent on his plays at times.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan

Combining both maturity and quality, Ilkay Gundogan can really help this team click. He continues to offer impressive creativity and even a goalscoring threat directly. However, alongside his fellow midfielders, he can not let his guard down for even a moment and let the opponents take advantage.

CM: Pedri

The elegant wonderkid provided a lot of spark to Barcelona in his last appearance. However, this time around, Pedri needs to start for Barcelona. Having gotten a decent rest in the previous outing, the youngster’s involvement in this game against Osasuna could be crucial.

Left-winger: Ferran Torres

The ‘shark’ continues to showcase his growth and development this season. Whereas he was struggling to finish his chances in the last campaign, he is thriving under the pressure this time around. With Joao Felix also injured, it could open up a huge window of opportunity.

Centre-forward: Robert Lewandowski

Regardless of his form, Robert Lewandowski is as pure as number nines get. For Xavi’s Barcelona, he presents himself as a viable target man. However, he really needs to be more clinical with his finishing to have a lasting positive impact for his team.

Right-winger: Lamine Yamal

With Raphinha injured, and practically only Vitor Roque and Marc Guiu left as the forwards on the bench, everything points to Lamine Yamal starting again. The young 16-year-old has already taken the world by storm through his immense footballing capabilities, but it seems that he is hungry to do much more than what he has already accomplished.

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