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How will Barcelona line up against Levante?

Xavi’s men face a relegation candidate on the road

Eintracht Frankfurt v FC Barcelona: Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Europa League Photo by Mario Hommes/vi//DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Barcelona continue their journey in the stretch run of the season with a La Liga trip to the city of València to face relegation candidates Levante at the Ciutat de València.

Barça have very little time to rest after a hard-fought draw away to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals, and the pressure is on for Xavi’s men to avoid elimination in Europe next Thursday.

But the Blaugrana have a crucial game before that to continue to control their own destiny in the Top 4 race and finish the weekend in second place. But it won’t be easy against a Levante side showing signs of life in recent weeks as they try to avoid the drop. Let’s see how Barça could line up on Sunday.


Defense

FC Barcelona v Sevilla - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

The groin injury suffered by Gerard Piqué is a tough blow for a Barça defense already without a ton of depth and also missing Sergiño Dest, who hasn’t been cleared to return from his hamstring issue yet.

Thankfully for Xavi he can once again count on Dani Alves, who will start at right-back after being unavailable for the Frankfurt trip. Eric García will be Piqué’s replacement for the next few games and will have Ronald Araujo as his partner, although Clément Lenglet has an outside chance of starting if Xavi decides to give Araujo a rest.

Midfield

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - La Liga Santander Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Xavi has been comfortable with rotating his midfield pieces ever since the schedule became really busy back in February, constantly changing the combinations and giving key players a rest. Frenkie De Jong didn’t start on Thursday and is expected to return for this one, and it might be a good idea to give Sergio Busquets a rest with Thursday in mind.

Pedri could also use at least 45 minutes on the bench on Sunday, but it’s tough to see Xavi changing two midfield players at once. If Busquets does rest, Gavi will most likely take his place which would move De Jong to the pivot. In case Xavi does decide to rest both Busquets and Pedri, Nico González would also get a chance to start.

Attack

Eintracht Frankfurt v FC Barcelona: Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Europa League Photo by Mario Hommes/vi//DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Ousmane Dembélé was once again a game-changer off the bench against Frankfurt, and the Frenchman can do almost nothing wrong right now whether he starts or comes on as a substitute. Adama Traoré continues to lose ground and look less and less like a real option, which is a shame after such a good start following his arrival.

Dembélé will start, and it’s hard to see Ferran Torres not playing with his current form. The only real doubt is the striker position: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could probably use a night off, and Luuk De Jong is back in training after missing a week due to Covid. Memphis Depay is also back and could find himself in the lineup after a quick recovery from a muscle injury, but it’s more likely that Aubameyang retains his place for now.


Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Alves, Araujo, Eric, Alba; Gavi, F. De Jong, Pedri; Dembélé, Aubameyang, Ferran (4-3-3)


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