Gavi, Fermin start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could line up against Athletic Club

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder #06 Gavi celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Spanish Liga football match between Villarreal CF and FC Barcelona at La Ceramica stadium in Vila-real on August 27, 2023.
Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

After a significant wait, FC Barcelona returns to La Liga EA Sports action following the international break. The Catalan giants mark their return to club football with a highly anticipated clash against Athletic Bilbao. Scheduled to take place at the Montjuic Stadium, Xavi and his men will be raring to go.

Currently in fourth position, the Blaugranes trail behind Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Girona. Despite the positioning, the point difference is extremely close and even the slightest of margins can tilt the standings right now. Keeping this in mind, every point will matter for Barcelona as they take on Bilbao.

Here is how Barcelona could line up against their Basque opposition.

Expected Line-up:

Goalkeeper: Marc Andre Ter Stegen

There is not much doubt about who starts in goal for Barcelona. The German keeper has been instrumental in Barça’s campaigns before and he will continue to aspire for the same heights again. Now a Barcelona captain, there is much responsibility on his shoulders moving forward.

Left-back: Marcos Alonso

Alejandro Balde rejoined training after suffering from discomfort previously. However, given how early it is still it is likely that he starts from the bench. In his stead, Spanish veteran Marcos Alonso could be the one to start as the Barcelona left-back following a lack of regular game time.

Centre-back: Andreas Christensen

The Danish central defender remains a consistent asset for Xavi and Barcelona. A lack of minutes has understandably left him wanting more, but he may get his opportunity against Bilbao. With Jules Kounde injured and Ronald Araujo potentially fatigued, the Dane could have his shot.

Centre-back: Inigo Martinez

With both Kounde and Araujo likely to either miss or be benched against Bilbao, Inigo Martinez could be the one chosen alongside Christensen. Facing his former side will be another added bit of motivation to showcase that he is still capable as always to deliver for whichever side he plays for.

Right-back: Joao Cancelo

The Portuguese fullback, while on loan, has been instrumental in helping Barcelona. His creative input coupled with his technical mastery of the game are both key traits that have allowed him to flourish within the Catalan club.

CDM: Oriol Romeu

Still, the only specialist that Xavi has in terms of a pivot, Oriol Romeu is likely to start. While his performances as of late have not been of an elite level, he has the capability and quality to turn this bad run of form around and begin to deliver once again for Barça.

CM: Gavi

The young Golden Boy winner remains fundamental to Xavi and even Luis de la Fuente. His tenacity, technical brilliance, and ability are all key for Barcelona. His influence will be crucial if Barça want to overcome Athletic Bilbao without any complications.

CM: Fermin Lopez

As a consequence of Ilkay Gundogan’s comparatively late return from the National team, he will likely have to start from the bench. In his stead, young Fermin Lopez has all the right qualities to help Barcelona achieve a fluid and dynamic game.

Left-winger: Joao Felix

Unstoppable with his National team during the international break, Roberto Martinez had nothing but praise for the 23-year-old. Intelligent, cunning, and versatile enough to be adaptively dangerous, Felix is a great asset for Barça. With Lewandowski still unavailable, Felix will be one of the main outlets trusted to score the goals.

Centre-forward: Ferran Torres

Robert Lewandowski remains injured, and Ferran Torres continues to have his chance. The Spaniard, formerly from Manchester City, could look to add to his goal-scoring tally against Bilbao. Interestingly, they were the first side to ever concede a goal to Ferran Torres when he first arrived to FC Barcelona.

Right-winger: Lamine Yamal

Under ideal circumstances, Lamine Yamal would have started from the bench against Bilbao. Having recovered from discomfort not too long ago, the 16-year-old currently does not have any other natural right wingers available to take over his duties for this game.

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