Player Features

Tierney back in action, but Xavi’s dream of seeing his favorite player remains unfulfilled

The presence of Kieran Tierney is the main surprise in the 24-player squad put together by Imanol Alguacil for the upcoming match against Barcelona in Montjuïc. The Scottish player is making a comeback due to the absence of the other two left backs in the squad, Aihen and Galán, and is aiming for a starting position after just two training sessions with the team. Five players are out due to injuries: Zubimendi, who is expected to return on Thursday against Valencia, Galán, Zubeldia, Carlos Fernández, and Aihen. Consequently, Xavi Hernández won’t be able to see the midfielder he admires, Martin Zubimendi, in action.

To fill the gaps, the coach had to call up players from the reserve team. Among them are goalkeeper Ayesa, who is likely to be the last-minute exclusion, and defenders Aramburu, Rupérez, and Jon Martín. The latter two have yet to play for the first team.

There are many uncertainties regarding the starting lineup. The biggest question is whether Imanol will stick with Becker as the right winger or opt for Take Kubo, who has been dealing with some quadriceps discomfort. It’s possible that the coach might want to play it safe, especially with Tierney returning from injury, and go for a defensive setup with three center backs and two wing-backs, possibly introducing a new player like Zakharyan in midfield.

This content has been translated and adapted from the Spanish version of the digital newspaper

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