Barcelona play their final match of 2021 away to second-place Sevilla in a crucial La Liga match for Xavi’s men.
Barça returned to winning ways at the weekend with a hard-fought win over Elche and head to Seville hoping to finish the year with a big victory against a title contender to go into 2022 with some positivity and confidence.
Xavi is still struggling with injuries and absences to the squad so there are not a lot of options in terms of team selection for this one. Let’s see how Barça could line up on Tuesday night.
Gerard Piqué is back from a suspension and will return to his familiar spot in the backline, with Eric García expected to drop to the bench again. Sergiño Dest missed the Elche game with a back injury and is still a doubt for this one, so Ronald Araujo will probably start at right-back once again.
Araujo has been uneven, to say the least, playing out of position and will be relieved to see Dani Alves finally become available to play in January, but the Uruguayan will have to try and do his best in a spot he isn’t comfortable with one last time. Óscar Mingueza and Samuel Umtiti will be ready to come in if Xavi decides to change things up, but a rotation is not expected in such a big game.
The midfield battle will be a crucial aspect of this game with Sevilla playing so well in that area of the pitch, and Barça will have to match their intensity and physicality to have a chance. Sergio Busquets doesn’t exactly scream intensity and physicality these days, but the captain is guaranteed to start under Xavi and will anchor the midfield once again.
The question is who will partner Busquets and Gavi, who was sublime against Elche and looks at his best right now. Frenkie De Jong did not have a good night on Saturday and the Camp Nou crowd let him hear about it, and Nico González was such a game-changer off the bench that it is hard not to see him starting over the Dutchman in this one.
What that would do to De Jong’s confidence remains to be seen, but going with the hot hand seems like the smartest decision against one of the best teams in the league. If Xavi surprises with Gavi as a false nine, however, De Jong and Nico might play together in midfield.
Ferran Jutglà made the most out of his opportunity on Saturday and was impressive in his first start for the club, scoring his debut goal and looking like a veteran striker with great personality and good finishing ability.
It seems only natural that Xavi would repeat the same front three that played so well on Saturday with Ez Abde and Ousmane Dembélé on the wings, but the coach could go with a more conservative approach and bench Jutglà in favor of another midfielder and play Gavi up front, so we’ll have to wait and see on which forward combination Xavi will choose.
Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Araujo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Nico, Busquets, Gavi; Dembélé, Jutglà, Abde (4-3-3)
How do YOU think Barcelona should line up against Sevilla? Let us know your thoughts, predictions and teams in the comments below!