FC Barcelona currently sit at fourth place on the La Liga table following Matchday 11. The Catalan giants currently have 24 points to their name, with eternal rivals Real Madrid now clear with 28. However, Barcelona could have their chance to decrease that gap through the upcoming game against Real Sociedad.
The Catalans giants have already unveiled the official squad list for the game as well. Considering certain key returns and other stars remaining fit, Xavi will opt for a strong lineup. Keeping the mistakes from the Clasico in mind, a lot will rest on Xavi’s shoulders.
Here is how FC Barcelona could line up against Real Sociedad:
Goalkeeper: Marc Andre Ter Stegen
A rather frustrating encounter saw Ter Stegen concede two goals to Jude Bellingham. With the El Clasico frustration fresh in his mind, Barcelona will be hoping they can recapture their German keeper’s form from last season. In San Sebastián, the Barcelona skipper will have his shot at redemption.
Left-back: Alejandro Balde
This game could be crucial for young Alejandro Balde. The 19-year-old Spanish fullback has undeniably fallen behind his best version. In order to regain the faith of both Xavi and the Barcelona fan base, Balde will need to showcase his best strengths against Sociedad.
Centre-back: Inigo Martinez
The Spanish veteran possesses a unique passing gift that Xavi seemingly adores. This ability to break opposition lines with accurate, fast passes could be vital for Barcelona this season. However, he will also need to maintain his defensive integrity in order to help Ter Stegen concede as few goals as possible.
Centre-back: Ronald Araujo
Uruguayan defender Ronald Araujo is well and truly back for Barcelona. Despite the loss in El Clasico, Araujo held his own pretty well. The Catalan giants will be hoping their defensive guardian can remain consistent and stay away from injuries for the remainder of the season.
Right-back: Joao Cancelo
One of Xavi’s most creative assets, Joao Cancelo remains untouchable. The Portuguese fullback possesses vision, passing, and technique unlike no other player. His experiment as a winger last time out showed promise but ultimately had no direct impact. For this game, he will likely return to his natural right-back position.
CDM: Ilkay Gundogan
Ilkay Gundogan remains the perfect balance between active quality and experience in a player. His contributions to Barcelona have already been massive both on and off the field. Despite his recent public criticism of the locker room, Gundogan will remain integral to Barcelona when it comes to ensuring success this season.
The hearty warrior of Barcelona in each game they play, Gavi has become irreplaceable. Against Real Madrid, the youngster was arguably the most lively player on the pitch. However, he will be keen on continuing to help Barcelona achieve great things this season.
CM: Fermin Lopez
In El Clasico, Barcelona were clearly the more dominant side for much of the game. However, a significant portion of the credit for that goes to Fermin Lopez. The dynamic midfielder meshes together a unique combo of style and efficiency. Moreover, his presence in front of the opposition goal, even from range, is always a treat to witness.
Left-winger: Joao Felix
The Portuguese arrival from Atletico Madrid will want to pick up his pace. Since arriving, Joao Felix has been unable to capture his best level since his initial appearances. A hungry young forward is exactly what Barcelona will be expecting him to be once Barça take charge at the Anoeta.
Centre forward: Robert Lewandowski
A rather disappointing performance against Los Blancos will definitely have left Lewandowski wanting more. The Polish ace needs to make the most of his best years that still remain. He will be hoping to add more goals to his tally this season as he begins to fall behind in the race for the Pichichi.
Introduced late into the Clasico, Raphinha will likely get a start this time around. The Brazilian winger provides a unique flair and directness whenever he plays for Barcelona. Xavi will be hoping that he connects well with his teammates and allows La Blaugrana to open up La Real as much as possible.