Transfer Rumors and News

How will Barcelona line up against Las Palmas in La Liga?

The final international break of the season is finally behind us, and the next eight weeks will define Barcelona’s 2023-24 campaign as the Catalans look for a strong finish in La Liga and a dream run in the Champions League with the quarter-finals against Paris Saint-Germain just around the corner.

The trip to Paris in less than two weeks is undoubtedly the priority for the Blaugrana, but there’s one game to play before then as Barça return home to the Montjuïc Olympic Stadium to face Las Palmas on Saturday night.

The Catalans can put pressure on leaders Real Madrid with a win that would cut the Blancos’ lead at the top of the table to only five points before their monster clash with Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, so Barça will no doubt look for all three points against a Las Palmas side having an excellent season in their return to La Liga and looking for the upset in the Catalan capital.

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


Atletico Madrid v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports

Photo by Diego Souto/Getty Images

Xavi has a fascinating scenario ahead of Saturday’s match: Barça won’t play again until the trip to Paris which gives them 10 full days to rest and prepare for their giant European game, so the coach could in theory pick his strongest available side against Las Palmas and still have enough time to get ready for PSG.

But all reports out of Catalonia in recent hours claim Xavi is fully focused on having his best players as close to full fitness as possible when they arrive in the French capital, so the boss is expected to make rotations and leave some big names on the bench to start the game on Saturday.

One of those big names will likely be Ronald Araujo, who didn’t play for Uruguay and returned early from international duty with muscle fatigue, and the center-back is expected to be left out of the match entirely. His replacement at the back will be Iñigo Martínez, who is set to partner young Pau Cubarsí at center-back with Jules Kounde and João Cancelo retaining their usual full-back spots.


FC Barcelona v SSC Napoli: Round of 16 Second Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24

Photo by Pedro Salado/Getty Images

Andreas Christensen has become a crucial piece of the team as a defensive midfielder, and he’s expected to be rested again after being left out of the game against Atlético Madrid two weeks ago and not joining the Denmark squad during the interntational break. Christensen has dealt with Achilles issues all season long, and Xavi and the coaching staff will do whatever it takes to protect him at the most important moment of the season.

Another key midfield starter in need of a rest is Ilkay Gündogan, who has played virtually non-stop for club and country all season and could seriously use the weekend off to be fully fit for the trip to Paris. If Christensen and Gündogan are indeed rested, three midfieders remain and would form the starting trio on Saturday: young Fermín López, captain Sergi Roberto, and Oriol Romeu.


Atletico Madrid v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports

Photo by Alvaro Medranda/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

There is one more big name expected to get a rest this weekend: Robert Lewandowski played two huge games for Poland, with the last one going to extra-time and penalties as his nation guaranteed a spot in Euro 2024. Lewy is reportedly dealing with some muscle fatigue himself, and it is imperative to have him at 100% against PSG considering his impressive return to form over the last month.

That would open the door for a rare start for Vitor Roque, with the Brazilian ready for more minutes after completing every training session during the international break and getting closer and closer to full fitness. Lamine Yamal and João Félix are expected to complete the front three, but Raphinha is also in contention and could replace Yamal if Xavi doesn’t want to take any risks with his teenage diamond.

Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Cubarsí, Iñigo, Cancelo; Fermín, Romeu, Roberto; Yamal, Roque, Félix (4-3-3)

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

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button