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How will Barcelona line up against Athletic?

The two teams meet for the third time in January

FC Barcelona v Athletic Club - Supercopa de Espana Final Photo by Berengui/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Barcelona return to La Liga action on Sunday and, after a run of eight consecutive away games, are finally back at home and able to play at the Camp Nou.

The Catalan giants will be back in familiar surroundings and are also facing familiar opponents as Athletic Club are the visitors.

The two teams have already met twice this month, in La Liga and in the Super Cup, with both games ending 3-2 and each team enjoying one victory each.

Let’s look at how Barcelona might line up:


FC Barcelona v Athletic de Bilbao - Spanish Super Cup Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Barcelona could welcome Sergi Roberto back from injury on Sunday at right-back which may come at a good time. Oscar Mingueza has done a solid job as back-up but certainly looks a far better option in central defense.

Ronald Araujo looks set to continue in the heart of the backline and may be joined by Samuel Umtiti after Clement Lenglet put in another less than impressive performance in midweek.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen will return in goal after getting a breather in the Copa del Rey, while Jordi Alba will come back into the starting XI in place of Junior Firpo.


Cornella v FC Barcelona - Copa del Rey Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

There’s no Sergio Busquets for this one due to suspension which should mean a rare start for Miralem Pjanic, although Riqui Puig is also an option. The summer signing from Juventus has only made three La Liga starts so far but has a good chance here to try and impress Koeman.

Goal machine Frenkie de Jong looks set to continue in his more advanced role and Pedri should also start after getting a bit of a rest against Rayo. The teenager started on the bench but was needed in the second half after Barca had gone 1-0 down.


Elche CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Ousmane Dembele is another player who came off the bench against Rayo but will be hoping to be back in the starting XI. Captain Lionel Messi will also return to La Liga action after missing the win over Elche due to suspension.

Antoine Griezman should complete the line-up and comes fresh from teeing up Messi in midweek to pick up his fourth assist of 2021. The Frenchman will also need no reminding he bagged a brace last time out against Athletic.

Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Araujo, Umtiti, Alba; De Jong, Pjanic, Pedri; Dembele, Messi, Griezmann.

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

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