Having finally completed the longest summer transfer window in history, Barcelona return to action this Saturday when they travel to the beautiful capital of Andalusia to face Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.
The busiest window in recent club history has come and gone and the squad has been finalized at last, and there is no doubt Xavi Hernández has gotten pretty much everything he’s asked for, both in terms of arrivals and departures.
Fans can debate which signings are good and which aren’t, and the players that should have come but didn’t. But the window is closed, this is the squad, the schedule will be very busy and the depth will be truly tested.
They will also be tested by very good teams, and Sevilla are certainly one of them and will prove to be a very tough challenge, especially at their home. Here’s how we think Barça could line up this weekend.
Jules Kounde is the headliner of this encounter as he’s set to make his return to the place he just left less than a month ago, and there is little doubt that the Sevilla fans will not exactly welcome him back with open arms.
But the Frenchman was excellent in his debut last week, playing both at right-back and at center-back and showcasing all of the qualities that made him such a priority for Xavi this summer. Kounde starts on Saturday, and it’s likely that Xavi keeps the same back four that performed so well last week against Real Valladolid.
That means Ronald Araujo and Eric García will retain their place in the middle, and Alejandro Balde is the starting left-back for now. New signings Héctor Bellerín and Marcos Alonso will probably not be available for this one, but will certainly get a chance to play soon.
Frenkie De Jong is officially staying at Barça after a long, sometimes ugly soap opera about his future. He never changed his mind and hasn’t accepted a paycut, and he continued to give 100% for the club he’s always dreamed of playing for. Now he deserves the same chances as everyone else to be involved, and there is very little question about his talent and ability to start every big game.
That said, he probably doesn’t start this one. Gavi was excellent last week, Pedri will never dropped for a game this big, and Sergio Busquets is the captain. Frenkie will probably start in the Champions League opener in midweek, but it’s unlikely we see the Dutchman in the XI this weekend. Hopefully from now it is truly only for football reasons.
Robert Lewandowski could not have made a better start for Barça, and just three games into season he looks more of a perfect fit than even the most optimistic fan could have hoped for. As long as the Polish striker has quality service around him, he has already shown that his finishing ability is truly at a special level.
As long as Lewy’s fit, he starts, and the two around him up front also seem to be picking themselves right now: Ousmane Dembélé looks in peak shape and is seemingly getting better with every game, and Raphinha made a statement against Valladolid that he wasn’t some sort of luxury signing that Barça didn’t really need. The Brazilian’s performances will be crucial to the team’s success, and his pace and skill on the wings will be very important against a tough Sevilla defense.
Ansu Fati continues to make a strong case to start, and Ferran Torres is slowly getting to full fitness. Memphis Depay hasn’t left and will be part of the plans again, but the starting front three is pretty clear at the moment. Especially for games like this one.
Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Eric, Balde; Gavi, Busquets, Pedri; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Dembélé (4-3-3)
How do you think Barcelona will line up against Sevilla? Let us know your thoughts, predictions and teams in the comments below!