FC Barcelona eagerly await their clash against Deportivo Alaves at the Montjuic Stadium. The Catalan giants currently sit in third place in the league table and are quite determined to close the gap between league leaders Girona and arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Recent games have not been particularly positive for Xavi’s men, however. As such, changes in both personnel and tactics are expected against Alaves. Currently, in 14th place in La Liga, they will be determined to ensure they do not allow Barcelona to take away all three points without resistance.
With Frenkie De Jong still injured and Gavi suspended for this game, the midfield will undoubtedly have tweaks to it. Here is how Barcelona could line up against Alaves.
Expected Line-up against Alaves
Goalkeeper: Marc Andre Ter Stegen
The German goalkeeper has undoubtedly been one of the few bright spots for Barcelona in the last few games. Despite their lackluster performances as a group, the Barcelona captain remained reliable. He will be hoping to add to his clean sheet tally against Alaves.
Right-back: Ronald Araujo
Given the chances of Joao Cancelo starting on the left, Xavi could opt to use Ronald Araujo on the right. The Uruguayan defender specializes in winning duels and ensuring defensive stability. His presence could allow Joao Cancelo to be more daring.
Centre-back: Jules Kounde
The Frenchman could partner with Inigo Martinez in the defense. His versatility and defensive understanding of the game have both helped out Barcelona in the past. Coupled with his ball-playing prowess, he could prove to be essential.
Centre-back: Inigo Martinez
The Spaniard is a player whose profile completely complements the style of football Xavi wants Barcelona to play. Moreover, his experience against other Spanish opponents could be another key asset that helps La Blaugrana.
Left-back: Joao Cancelo
A bit of a wildcard, Joao Cancelo’s usage as a left-back has not yet been experienced at Barcelona. However, given the woes of Alejandro Balde and the unconvincing recent performances, Xavi could use the Portuguese star in this position to shake things up.
CDM: Ilkay Gundogan
The German remains one of the most deployed players under the orders of Xavi Hernandez. While these minutes are completely merited, they can also be exhausting. However, it does not seem like Xavi intends to rest the player against Alaves.
CM: Fermin Lopez
The Spaniard has showcased a great dynamic talent that is completely unique to him. To stand out at such a young age within Barcelona is impressive in itself, however, to do so by being a completely unique type of midfielder is something that makes him quite valuable to Xavi.
At long last, Pedri seems likely to return to the starting eleven. With several reports backing up this selection possibility as well as the suspension of Gavi making it even more probable, Pedri’s addition to the team from the start of the match is sure to provide a plethora of creative and tactical advantages for Barcelona.
Right-winger: Lamine Yamal
The 16-year-old wonderkid continues to be one of the most exciting talents in world football. While he has not started for Barcelona in the last few games, Alaves could present the perfect opportunity for Xavi to give him a much-deserved start.
Centre-forward: Robert Lewandowski
Despite his rather poor recent performances, it seems that Barcelona retains their faith in him. Xavi will be hoping that the Barcelona ace can return to his best goal-scoring form and begin helping the team again in the best way he knows.
Left-winger: Joao Felix
The Portuguese star remains one of the most creative forwards within this Barcelona team. While his talent is undeniable, his efficiency in front of goal has wavered recently. Still, Xavi will likely start him hoping to get more out of Felix.