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How will Barcelona line up against Girona in a huge La Liga clash?

Barcelona face one last huge test this season in their fight to finish second in La Liga when they make the short trip to Montilivi to face local rivals Girona in a monster Catalan derby on Saturday.

Barça must secure their spot as runners-up to guarantee extra prize money and a spot in next year’s Spanish Super Cup, and beating third place Girona will essentially end that particular race in favor of the Blaugrana with four games to go.

But Girona are motivated to get their best ever finish in La Liga and want to complete the season sweep over the local rivals, and have proven all season long that they have the talent and coaching ability necessary to get the win at home.

Here’s how we think Xavi Hernández will line up his troops for Saturday’s battle.


FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - LaLiga EA Sports

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Xavi has almost his entire squad available for the final five matches of the season, which would have been really useful in January or February but is still a welcome change in what has been a very challenging campaign on the injury front.

The coach is not expected to make many changes from the win against Valencia, and we think in fact there will be zero alterations: the back four of Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Pau Cubarsí and João Cancelo is the best defensive group available, and despite his good performance off the bench on Monday we think Iñigo Martínez will remain a substitute for this one.


Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports

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Fermín López scored on Monday and had a complete performance against Valencia, and the young midfielder absolutely deserves to start again. His intensity and scoring ability from midfield are even more important against a Girona team that will play an open game and concede chances on the counter, and Fermín’s willingness to make run after run to wreak havoc in the final third could prove a decisive factor.

If Fermín does indeed start there will be three players fighting for the two remaining spots: Ilkay Gündogan will definitely start again and would be part of the double pivot if Fermín is the number 10, so his partner at the base of midfield will be either Andreas Christensen or Pedri. We think Xavi will be more conservative to start the game on the road, so we think Christensen will be his choice with Pedri as a super sub.


FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - LaLiga EA Sports

Photo by Pedro Salado/Getty Images

The future of Vitor Roque has suddenly become a topic of major debate in Catalonia, and Robert Lewandowski’s hat-trick on Monday was yet another reminder that the Pole will not give the young Brazilian much of a chance to play a lot of minutes at the end of this season to stake his claim for a bigger role next year.

Lewandowski rebounded quite well from two rough performances against PSG and Real Madrid with a dominant second half showing against Valencia, and Lewy has been decisive on the road multiple times this season. If he does it again, Barça will be in a good shape to get a win.

Lamine Yamal and Raphinha will likely complete the front three, with João Félix and Ferran Torres looking to make an impact off the bench in this one.

Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Cubarsí, Cancelo; Christensen, Gündogan; Yamal, Fermín, Raphinha; Lewandowski (4-2-3-1)

How do you think Barcelona should line up against Girona? Let us know your thoughts, predictions and teams in the comments below!

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