The next Barcelona match is upon us! The Blaugrana travel to beautiful Andalusia to begin their Copa del Rey title defense with a Round of 32 tie away to Linares, and Xavi Hernández has called up the following 21 players for Wednesday’s clash:
Goalkeepers: 1. Marc-André ter Stegen, 13. Neto, 26. Iñaki Peña
Defenders: 3. Gerard Piqué, 4. Ronald Araujo, 8. Dani Alves, 18. Jordi Alba, 22. Óscar Mingueza, 24. Eric García, 35. Arnau Comas, 38. Guillem Jaime, 41. Mika Mármol
Midfielders: 5. Sergio Busquets, 6. Riqui Puig, 21. Frenkie De Jong, 28. Nico González, 34. Álvaro Sanz
Forwards: 7. Ousmane Dembélé, 29. Ferran Jutglà, 37. Ilias Akhomach, 39. Estanis Pedrola
It is almost impossible to keep track of who’s in or out of the Barça squad at the moment, and there are plenty of surprises in this list too. Starting with the good news: Dani Alves is on the list and has been registered in time so he will make his official debut tonight, while Jordi Alba and Ousmane Dembélé also return after testing negative for Covid-19.
Now to the absences: Samuel Umtiti and Clément Lenglet are both out because of a stomach bug, and Luuk De Jong also misses this one because of a suspension he picked up last season while with Sevilla. Sergiño Dest, Alejandro Balde, Gavi, Philippe Coutinho, Pedri, Ez Abde and Ferran Torres are out due to Covid, Memphis Depay and Ansu Fati haven’t been medically cleared yet, Yusuf Demir won’t play while he waits for a transfer, and Martin Braithwaite (knee) and Sergi Roberto (thigh) miss out due to injury. In total, Barça will be missing 15 players for this one.
Predicted starting XI (4-3-3):
Neto; Alves, Araujo, Eric, Mingueza; Nico, Busquets, Puig; Akhomach, Jutglà, Dembélé
The match kicks off at 7.30pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 6.30pm GMT (UK), 1.30pm ET, 10.30am PT (USA), 12am IST (India, Thursday), and you can join us to follow and comment all the action.
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