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How will Barcelona line up against Real Sociedad in a crucial La Liga home game?


The home stretch of this La Liga season is here with the final four rounds of matches set to be played over the next 14 days, and there is one job for Barcelona to do in the next fortnight: finish the season in second place to guarantee an extra €10 million in prize money and a spot in next year’s Spanish Super Cup.

After their terrible loss away to Girona last week that dropped them to third place the Blaugrana were given a huge help by Deportivo Alavés, who held Barça’s local rivals to a draw on Friday and gave Xavi Hernández and his men a chance to reclaim second spot with three games to go if they can get a win on Monday night.

But standing in their way will be a tough and well-coached Real Sociedad team who always provide a brutal test for Barça and are chasing a place in Europe next season themselves, and they would get a huge boost with a good result at the Montjuïc Olympic Stadium.

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


Defense

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - LaLiga EA Sports

Photo by Pedro Salado/Getty Images

With a full eight days to rest and recover after the short trip to Montilivi there is no doubt Xavi will pick the strongest available team for this one, but there could be some changes to the side that lost in Girona to try and fix some of the issues shown last week.

We think there will be no changes at the back, however, with Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Pau Cubarsí and João Cancelo still the best defensive combination considering those available. Cancelo has not been himself in recent weeks and needs a great finish to the season to convince Barça to sign him permanently from Manchester City, and a strong performance on Monday would certainly help his cause.

Midfield

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - LaLiga EA Sports

Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Xavi went with a four-man midfield last week looking for extra control on the road, but the strategy backfired and Barça were still overwhelmed in the center of the park by Girona. We think the coach will go back to a three-man midfield setup for this one, and reintroduce Pedri into the lineup for the extra bit of creativity that Sergi Roberto and Fermín López couldn’t provide last week.

Andreas Christensen is very much the starting pivot these days and will remain there on Monday, with Ilkay Gündogan completing the midfield as he looks for a strong finish to what has been an impressive debut season at Barça for the German.

Attack

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - LaLiga EA Sports

Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Raphinha was surprisingly left on the bench last week and his absence showed as Barça were unable to match Girona’s intensity, so we expect the Brazilian back in the lineup on Monday with Xavi likely to choose a more attacking setup at home.

Lamine Yamal was one of the very few bright spots in the Barça team last week with a key involvement in both goals, and the teenager will look to be decisive once again and provide service to Robert Lewandowski, who may or may not be playing his final few games for Barça and wants to prove to management that he can still be the team’s top striker next season.


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


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



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