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How will Barcelona line up against Villarreal?

Ronald Koeman’s side are back in action on Sunday

FC Barcelona v Elche CF - Joan Gamper Trophy Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona play their first La Liga game of the season on Sunday when they take on Villarreal at the Camp Nou.

The Catalan giants saw their first two games of the season postponed but are now ready to make their first competitive outing under new boss Ronald Koeman.

Barca’s starting XI will look a little different too. There will be no Luis Suarez, no Ivan Rakitic, no Arturo Vidal and no Nelson Semedo either. Let’s look at who might feature:


Deportivo Alaves v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Neto will continue in goal for Barcelona with usual first choice Marc-Andre ter Stegen out for a little while with a knee injury. He’s not expected back until the end of October at the earliest.

Sergi Roberto seems to be the club’s only right-back so is pretty much guaranteed a starting spot, while Jordi Alba looks set to start on the opposite flank.

Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet are expected to be the two center-backs, although Ronald Araujo could come into the reckoning for a starting spot this season.


FC Barcelona v Elche CF - Joan Gamper Trophy Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Ronald Koeman is expected to play with a double pivot in a bid to try and get the best out of Frenkie de Jong. The Dutchman should start alongside Sergio Busquets with new arrival Miralem Pjanic having missed the start of pre-season.

There are other options too of course. Carles Alena is available, and started against Nastic in pre-season, but it seems more likely the 22-year-old will have to settle for a place on the bench.


FC Barcelona v Elche CF - Joan Gamper Trophy Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Into attack and there is where it should get interesting. Koeman has said he wants to play Antoine Griezmann in a central position, and he seems certain to finally take over from Suarez.

Captain Lionel Messi is also guaranteed a start under Koeman, while Philippe Coutinho is likely to get the nod after returning from Bayern and scoring a couple of goals in pre-season.

All of which means there’s one spot left in the attack and plenty of options. Ansu Fati seems to be the favorite, but Ousmane Dembele and Francisco Trincao will also be hoping to get the nod.

Possible XI: Neto; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, De Jong; Messi, Coutinho, Ansu, Griezmann.

Who do you think should start for Barcelona on Sunday? Let us know your thoughts, teams and predictions in the comments below!

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