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How will Barcelona line up against Espanyol?

It’s Xavi’s first game in charge!

Xavi Hernandez Unveiled As New FC Barcelona FC Head Coach Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona finally return to action after the international break on Saturday with a home La Liga fixture against local rivals Espanyol.

There’s a lot to get excited about as it’s Xavi’s first game in charge of the Catalan giants since replacing Ronald Koeman in the hotseat.

The new boss will still be without a host of players due to injury but fans will still be keen to see how the team fares under the club legend.

Let’s look at who might feature at the Camp Nou.

Defense

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Barca’s injury problems in defense have eased which means it will be interesting to see who Xavi selects as his backline against Espanyol.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen should continue in goal and Gerard Pique will be hoping to return to the team after suffering a calf problem against Alaves.

Eric Garcia could line up alongside Pique in central defense, although Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet, and Ronald Araujo are also options.

Jordi Alba looks set to take up his usual left-back slot but Sergino Dest remains a doubt with a back problem and Dani Alves can’t play until January.

All of which means Oscar Mingueza may get the nod at right-back unless Xavi decides to go with Sergi Roberto instead.

Midfield

Nico Gonzalez of Fc Barcelona in action during the Joan... Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pedri had been expected to make his comeback in this game but it seems that the 19-year-old will have to wait a little bit longer to make his return from injury.

Xavi won’t lack for options in midfield but needs to find a way to get the best out the talents available at the Camp Nou.

Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Gavi, Nico Gonzalez and Riqui Puig are all available, and it will be fascinating to see which players Xavi selects against Espanyol.

Attack

RC Celta de Vigo v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

This is where it gets really tricky for Xavi with Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele, Sergio Aguero, and Martin Braithwaite all sidelined and unavailable.

Memphis Depay is surely guaranteed a start but it’s not clear yet who will feature alongside the Netherlands international in the Barca attack.

Yusuf Demir, Luuk de Jong and Philippe Coutinho are available but none have been particularly convincing for Barcelona yet this season.

That could be good news for 19-year-old Ez Abde who will be hoping for some minutes and could even get his first senior start for the Catalan giants.

Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Eric, Alba; Busquets, Frenkie, Nico; Gavi, Memphis, Abde.

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