Barcelona set to use 3-4-3 against Milan, bench Carles Puyol

According to a recent report on MundoDeportivo, all signs are pointing towards FC Barcelona aligning its starting eleven in a 3-4-3 formation, and leaving captain Carles Puyol on the bench.

With Xavi Hernandez receiving medical clearance today, Barcelona's lineup will look like this: Valdés, Mascherano, Piqué, Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi; Álves or Pedro, Villa, Alexis.

The big surprise here is the exclusion of Carles Puyol, who was fantastic last weekend in Barcelona's 2-0 victory over Deportivo. The most likely explanation is that with a three-man defense, there's only room for one true central defender—in this case Gerard Piqué—while the other two players must have good pace to cover the wings.

Although this lineup has not been confirmed, I must say it looks very good to me, albeit thin at the back. Messi will have more room to work with David Villa occupying Milan's back line, and Iniesta, Xavi, and Busquets together in midfield is like the holy trinity of possession football.

Let's hope the goals come quick, and maybe we'll get to see Puyol subbed on in the second half.

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