Xavi could make unprecedented decision for Barcelona vs Atletico

HAMBURG, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 07: Head coach Xavi Harnandez of Barcelona looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League match between FC Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Barcelona at Volksparkstadion on November 07, 2023 in Hamburg, Germany.
Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

Barcelona have had a massive problem with consistency this season. For La Blaugrana, it has arguably been their definitive concern in most of their games. Even in games that have ended in victory for Barça, Xavi’s men have been far from convincing.

Injuries, tactical tweaks, and a lack of rhythm have all plagued Barcelona during the ongoing campaign. However, one constant for Barcelona has arguably been the ironic lack of regularity that Xavi has prioritized.

In fact, as SPORT highlights, Xavi has never fielded the same lineup twice this season. Every game has seen at least one change within the starting eleven. While this can be attributed towards the great variety of talent present within Barça, it also showcases the fact that Xavi is yet to find his ideal lineup.

However, after a rather long period of time, Barcelona showed glimpses of great football against FC Porto. As a consequence, SPORT believes that the starting lineup from that game has as good a chance as any to be repeated against Atletico Madrid.

Robert Lewandowski was paired with Joao Felix and Raphinha as the attacking trident. Behind them, Ilkay Gundogan and Pedri formed a trio with Frenkie De Jong.

Lastly, the defense consisted of three central defenders in Jules Kounde, Inigo Martinez, and Ronald Araujo, while Joao Cancelo played as the left-back. This particular line-up was quite effective against Porto, and could guarantee consistency against Atletico.

In goal, however, lies the only uncertainty. Despite the fact that Marc Andre Ter Stegen remains doubtful for the Atletico game given his recent absence from training, he is still not a guaranteed exclusion.

On the other hand, Inaki Pena was a rather solid replacement for the German against Porto. In the case of Ter Stegen remaining unavailable, Barcelona will not feel too troubled given their faith in Pena’s abilities.

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