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Xavi expected to ring in the changes for Barcelona vs Mallorca – report

Barcelona’s last league outing against Athletic Club was eventful, to say the least. 

Not only did the yellow cards received by Xavi and Ronald Araujo lead to suspensions, causing them to be unavailable for the upcoming clash against Mallorca, but also the injuries to Frenkie de Jong and Pedri will now force the manager to make some compelling decisions.

Given the troubles the team is facing at the moment, journalist Sergi Capdevila has reported via SPORT that Xavi is now expected to make a minimum of four changes when his side host Mallorca on Friday, March 8.

What type of changes?

Several adjustments within the playing XI are inevitable due to the requirements. To begin with, Araujo, a key team leader, won’t be positioned in the centre since he will be serving his one-match ban.

The coach must navigate this change carefully and initial indications suggest that Pau Cubarsi and Inigo Martinez will be the linchpins of the defence. 

Ronald Araujo will not be available for selection against Mallorca. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, it is to be noted that Sergi Roberto, yet to see a minute of play since returning from injury, has spent three consecutive games on the bench and Xavi may opt to explore alternatives by including him in the lineup.

The midfield dynamics will also undergo transformation with the exclusion of De Jong and Pedri, paving the way for a tactical shift, with Fermin Lopez entering the fray in midfield.

What else?

Adjustments in midfield might force Xavi to have a different forward force and this would see Lamine Yamal reclaim his spot in the starting XI, while on the left, Joao Felix, operating as a false winger, could make an appearance. 

Alternatively, Raphinha, possessing the versatility to play centrally if required, might be considered as well.

Lastly, as reported before, the formidable workload on Jules Kounde prompts consideration for rotation after having featured in every match in 2024.

As such, there’s potential for Hector Fort to step in, given his limited playing time of only seven minutes across the last five games. 

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