How will Barcelona line up against Cádiz?


Barcelona don’t have too much time to celebrate after the amazing win over PSG in the Champions League, and need quickly to turn their attentions back to La Liga for what promises to be a difficult away match against Cádiz on Saturday night.

Barça decide their entire season next week with the second leg of the European quarter-finals against PSG and then a monster El Clásico next Sunday with potential title implications, but that game against Real Madrid will not mean anything if Barça stumble against Cádiz this weekend.

The hosts are in the relegation zone and are desperate for a result against the Catalans, so this will not be easy. Here’s how we think Xavi Hernández will line up his troops for Saturday’s battle.


Defense

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Xavi has quite the selection headache for this one considering the fact there are two monster games next week without a lot of rest time in between, and after a very demanding game in Paris the coach has no choice but to make some serious rotations for this one.

He’ll already be forced into changes due to suspension, with João Cancelo, Iñigo Martínez and Robert Lewandowski all banned because of yellow card accumulation. There’s also the need to rest some key starters and all three of Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde and Pau Cubarsí could use a night off before facing Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé again.

But at least one of them will need to play this Saturday, and we think it will be Araujo due to his leadership which will be necessary with so many changes. He could have Andreas Christensen as his partner since the Dane is suspended for the PSG clash and might return to his original center-back position to allow Cubarsí to take a night off.

Young full-back Héctor Fort is the natural replacement for Cancelo, but he might start at right-back in place of Kounde. That would also mean a return to the lineup for Marcos Alonso, who has been an unused substitute for nearly a month since returning from a back injury but could get a rare chance to play in this one.

Midfield

FC Barcelona v UD Las Palmas - LaLiga EA Sports

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Another starter suspended for the second leg against PSG is captain Sergi Roberto, so it’s only natural that he starts this one. Ilkay Gündogan will likely get a rest with next week in mind and Pedri is not ready to start having just come back from injury, so there’s a chance Oriol Romeu gets a rare opportunity in this one.

We think Xavi will start Frenkie de Jong, however, to give the Dutchman more minutes and help him regain his rhythm after struggling with the pace of the game for some portions of the match in Paris. Since De Jong’s injury was not muscular there’s no real risk of starting him in back-to-back matches if his ankle is fully healed, and the extra minutes in Cádiz could prove very beneficial for Frenkie in next week’s big games.

The third spot in midfield will likely go to Fermín López, who might start against PSG due to the suspensions of Roberto and Christensen and would benefit from a good performance on Saturday to boost his confidence.

Attack

FC Barcelona v UD Las Palmas - LaLiga EA Sports

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Lewandowski is suspended and Raphinha and Lamine Yamal are too important to be risked from the start in this game, so Xavi is likely choose a rare but intriguing front three combination: Ferran Torres on the right, João Félix on the left and Vitor Roque through the middle.

Roque has barely played as a central striker since arriving at Barça and has a very good chance to play all 90 minutes in that role, though Marc Guiu could also get some second half action off the bench.

Ferran and Félix have a golden opportunity to claim a spot in the starting XI against either PSG or Madrid, but they need to perform this weekend to show the manager they deserve more minutes.


Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Fort, Araujo, Christensen, Alonso; Fermín, Roberto, De Jong; Ferran, Roque, Félix (4-3-3)


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

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