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Sergi Roberto in line to start vs. Real Madrid

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Barcelona’s utility man will have a place in the Copa del Rey clásico

Sevilla FC v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Sergi Roberto is rumored to be the favorite to take up a midfield spot as FC Barcelona prepare to face Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey. With Arthur out through injury, Barcelona have a question mark in their starting XI, and it seems Barça’s utility man will be taking over.

Roberto has started most of his matches at right-back this season but it appears Nélson Semedo will once again be preferred in part to cover the threat of Vinícius on the wing. In the first clásico of the two-legged affair, Semedo started at right-back with Malcom on the wing. Roberto was on the bench as Barça drew 1-1 with los blancos.

Diario AS says it’s part of the “anti-Vinícius plan” to have Roberto and Semedo on the same wing, though noting that Roberto could be preferred to Arturo Vidal for being more thoughtful on the ball and adding a sense of structure rather than chaos.

The plan would be to play a version of 4-3-3 that morphs into 4-4-2, with Ousmane Dembélé asked to retreat into midfield when required, while Roberto is given license to move forward and attack alongside the Frenchman when the Catalans have the ball.

Onda Cero has said that “everything points to” the following lineup against Madrid: Marc-André ter Stegen, Semedo, Gerard Piqué, Clément Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Roberto, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitić, Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Dembélé.

Barcelona would be repeating the team that drew 0-0 with Lyon in the UEFA Champions League.