Fort, Cubarsi to start: Expected Barcelona XI against Mallorca

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

FC Barcelona take on Mallorca in their latest La Liga clash to keep certain hopes alive. La Liga seems to slowly be slipping away, but giving up is still not an option. The chance against Athletic Club was squandered, but Barcelona will definitely want a win against Mallorca at the Montjuic Stadium.

The Catalan giants come into this game with several injuries and suspensions, but they will still be expected to ensure victory. Both the midfield and defense will likely see noticeable rotations, but Xavi will still do his best to field as strong a Barcelona eleven as possible.

Here is how Barcelona could line up against Mallorca.

Expected Lineup:

Goalkeeper: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen

There is almost no debate when it comes to who starts in goal. Despite keeping a clean sheet against Athletic Club, Ter Stegen will be hoping for a better result than just a draw this time around and will be expecting better from his outfield players.

Right-back: Joao Cancelo

Changes in defense will be likely, so it would not come as a surprise to see Joao Cancelo back in the right-back position to provide some much-needed rest to Jules Kounde.

The Portuguese fullback has recently claimed that he hopes to remain at Barcelona beyond this season, but even though his progress has been strong, he will need to continue his fine performances until the end of the season.

Centre-back: Pau Cubarsi

The 17-year-old defender has been a great revelation for the Catalans this season. His ball playing, timing, and defensive awareness are all of a professional level, and he continues to excite despite being a defender. As he plays more and more, he continues to become even better.

Centre-back: Inigo Martinez

Inigo Martinez could return to the starting XI after coming off the bench against Athletic Club. His vision, passing, defensive strength, and leadership could all be useful to Barcelona, especially with a leading figure like Araujo being unavailable due to suspension.

Left-back: Hector Fort

With Joao Cancelo possibly being shifted to the right flank, Hector Fort could get his opportunity. However, it does remain uncertain whether or not he gets that chance on his preferred right flank or on the left where he will have to rely on his versatility to succeed.

CDM: Andreas Christensen

The Danish star will likely be tasked once again with providing defensive stability to the midfield. His presence gives Barça some reassurance in transitions, but he will need to keep his guard up at all times to ensure that he succeeds in his duties as the new improvised Barcelona pivot.

CDM/CM: Ilkay Gundogan

Arguably the only first-choice midfielder currently available, Gundogan will be Xavi’s messiah in the midfield. He will likely be tasked with several duties, but the former Manchester City midfielder is more than capable of handling them.

CAM: Raphinha

Recent reports have claimed that Xavi could opt to deploy Raphinha as part of his midfield in light of the recent injuries. Having previously been deployed in relatively deeper roles, this seems like a possibility that is not completely unthinkable.

Right-winger: Lamine Yamal

In the event that Raphinha occupies the central attacking midfielder role, only Lamine Yamal is capable enough of taking over the right-winger position. His ball progression and increasingly lethal presence in front of the goal will surely be valuable assets to Barcelona.

Centre-forward: Robert Lewandowski

Even though the Polish striker was not able to get on the scoresheet in the last stalemate against Athletic Club, it is also true that his teammates were not able to find him a lot. This time around, however, Lewandowski will hope to receive better service and in return, provide some lethal finishing.

Left-winger: Joao Felix

Given the number of injuries suffered in the midfield already, Barcelona could revert to their more traditional 4-3-3 with two wingers. Joao Felix, on the left wing, could just be the solution that Barcelona needs. His creative answers to in-game problems can often create useful scenarios for the team.

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