Barcelona are back in La Liga action against Villarreal on Thursday in a game that Xavi’s side really need to win after disappointments against Real Madrid and Inter.
Xavi is still without a host of injured players for this one and is expected to shake up his starting XI in a bid to get Barca out of their “negative dynamic.”
Villarreal head to the Camp Nou with a great defensive record, having only conceded three goals this season. However, Unai Emery’s side have also failed to win any of their last four La Liga games and have failed to score in any of those matches either.
Let’s see look at how Barca could line up:
Xavi doesn’t have too many options at the back with injuries still an issue. Hector Bellerin may be fit enough for the bench but Barca are still without Ronald Araujo and Andreas Christensen.
Jules Kounde is likely to continue to partner Eric Garcia in the heart of the defence. Sergi Roberto could stay at right-back with Alejandro Balde on the opposite flank. Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique are also options for Xavi.
All eyes will be on Xavi’s teamsheet to see if he drops Sergio Busquets after some high-profile errors in Barcelona’s last two games.
The thinking is that Busquets will be given a breather and Frenkie de Jong will take his place in midfield. Gavi should also return to the starting XI after impressing off the bench in El Clasico.
Pedri is another player who Xavi may need to rest soon, although the midfielder’s importance to the team means he may continue in the XI for this one.
Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres are pushing for starts after making an impact in El Clasico. Torres scored his first La Liga goal of the season after coming off the bench after great work from fellow substitute Ansu.
Xavi may decide to give one or even both players a chance against Villarreal. Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele have flattered to deceive recently and Xavi is still searching for the right balance to his team.
Robert Lewandowski will continue in attack and will be hoping to get back to goalscoring ways after failing to find the back of the net against Real Madrid.
Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Robert, Kounde, Eric, Balde; De Jong, Pedri, Gavi; Ferran Torres, Lewandowski, Ansu Fati.
How do you think Barcelona should line up against Villarreal? Let us know your thoughts, predictions and teams in the comments below!