Barcelona return to action on Wednesday against Elche at the Camp Nou in La Liga and will be in need of a performance and a result to raise morale after recent disappointments against Paris Saint-Germain and Cadiz.
Ronald Koeman’s side have dropped to fourth in the table but can close the gap to leaders Atletico Madrid to five points with a win, although the Rojiblancos will have a game in hand.
Let’s look at how they might line up:
All eyes will be on the defense against Elche following yet another mistake that cost Barca a victory against Cadiz. Clement Lenglet was guilty of conceding a penalty and is reportedly struggling mentally to cope with the pressure at the moment.
Oscar Mingueza and Samuel Umtiti are the options to partner Gerard Pique in central defense if Lenglet is benched. Ronald Araujo is close to a comeback but certainly won’t be rushed back with some key games ahead.
Sergino Dest should continue on the right of the backline after a much-improved performance at the weekend, while Jordi Alba looks set to take up his usual left-back slot.
There have been a few whispers that Koeman wanted Ilaix Moriba available for this game which suggests he could be set to make his second La Liga start of the season. The 18-year-old comes into the match after scoring in Barca B’s 6-0 win on Sunday.
Riqui Puig and Miralem Pjanic will also be hoping to get the nod if Koeman decides to rest any of his favored trio of Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri.
Koeman doesn’t have too many options in attack but may decide to start Francisco Trincao on Wednesday. The youngster scored twice on his last start, in the win over Alaves, and could come in for Ousmane Dembele or even Antoine Griezmann.
The Frenchman’s goals seem to have dried up after a hot streak, and he’s now gone five games without finding the back of the net in all competitions.
Lionel Messi is having no such problems in front of goal. The captain has scored in Barca’s last six La Liga matches in a row, netting nine goals in those fixtures.
Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Dest, Pique, Mingueza, Alba; Ilaix, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri; Trincao, Messi, Griezmann.
How do you think Barcelona should line up against Elche? Let us know your thoughts, predictions and teams in the comments below!