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How will Barcelona line up against Villarreal?

Xavi’s men are at El Madrigal on Saturday

FBL-EUR-C1-BARCELONA-BENFICA Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona take on Villarreal on Saturday in La Liga as Xavi faces his first away test since replacing Ronald Koeman as coach.

Xavi’s side take on a home team who head into the weekend down in 12th place in the table and fresh from a disappointing Champions League defeat to Manchester United.

Barca also didn’t get the result they wanted in midweek against Benfica but did beat Espanyol last time out in La Liga in Xavi’s first game in charge.

Let’s see how they could line up.

Defense

FC Barcelona V Benfica - Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Xavi has all sorts of options in defense with Sergino Dest now back fit and available after coming on as a substitute against Benfica.

The new boss raised a few eyebrows by playing three center-backs in midweek which makes predicting his backline a little tricky.

Ronald Araujo came into the starting XI and will be hoping to continue after an impressive Champions League performance.

Clement Lenglet, Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia, and Clement Lenglet are also available, while Xavi has not handed Samuel Umtiti any game time yet which speaks volumes.

Midfield

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

Barcelona’s midfielders have been impressive under Xavi. Sergio Busquets is looking more like his old self, while teenagers Nico Gonzalez and Gavi continue to shine and look completely at home in the starting XI.

Xavi will surely have to rotate his midfielders at some point but it’s a little difficult right now due to a lengthy injury list. Pedri remains sidelined and isn’t expected back until 2022, while the problems in attack have seen Gavi employed further forward.

Attack

FC Barcelona v SL Benfica: Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Xavi is still short of options in attack due to injuries but does have Ousmane Dembele available again. The Frenchman was bright after coming off the bench against Benfica and should get more game time here.

It’s not clear at the moment if Dembele is fit enough to start the game or if he’ll have to contend with a place on the bench. Either way, his return to fitness is a real boost for the Catalan giants.

If Dembele doesn’t make it then Xavi could turn to youth again. Yusuf Demir may get the nod, other options are llias Akhomach and Ez Abde who are available again after missing the Champions League match.

Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Araujo, Pique, García, Alba; Nico, Busquets, De Jong; Dembele, Memphis, Gavi.

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