FC Barcelona will play their match against Celta Vigo today with a side that lacks a lot of the team’s veteran stalwarts, to the point that only one or two of the players starting today can be called surefire starters under regular conditions.
Marc-André Ter Stegen will still start in goal, but after that, it will be quite the change. There will be no Lionel Messi, no Andrés Iniesta, no Jordi Alba, no Luis Suárez, no Sergio Busquets, no Ivan Rakitić, and no Gerard Piqué.
Instead, we will see young players such as Yerry Mina, Nélson Semedo, Denis Suárez, Paco Alcácer, and Ousmane Dembélé. This could, in some way, be a preview of the FC Barcelona of the future, primarily because the team’s leader will actually be Philippe Coutinho.
A couple of squad veterans are included in Thomas Vermaelen and Paulinho, but even then, the average age of the players is still just 25.
Whether the likes of Denis, Alcácer, Lucas Digne, or André Gomes continue at the club is an open question, but they will get their chance to make their case today - possibly one of their last chances this season.
Of course, we still assume that the Barcelona of the future will have Samuel Umtiti in the side, and for example, Busquets, who is still under 30. But one thing that we could see today is how Coutinho and Dembélé do when asked not to play as the sidekicks to Messi and co., but as the main focal points of the attack.
Transfer records were set in acquiring the duo, and the two were not purchased just for what they could offer this season. Clearly, the management had an eye on the future with the pair, especially with Dembélé, who is just 20 years old. How will they cope against a pretty good opponent today?