After making a very successful start to their Champions League campaign in midweek, Barcelona go straight back to La Liga action this weekend when they travel to the beautiful region of Andalusia to meet Cádiz on Saturday afternoon.
The Blaugrana remain unbeaten to start the season and look in good shape for the challenges ahead, with a huge European trip to Bayern Munich just a few days away. But the league remains the priority, and Cádiz promise to be a very tough obstace to overcome.
Since returning to La Liga two seasons ago Cádiz are yet to lose to Barça, and the Catalans haven’t beaten Saturday’s opponents in 16 years. Here’s how we think Xavi Hernández’s troops will line up to try and break that streak.
Xavi made five changes against Viktoria Plzen in the European opener and we got to see the depth of this current Barça squad, and how the coach will be able to rotate and still field a strong-looking team for every game.
The back four of Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Eric García and Alejandro Balde looked very good and balanced against Valladolid and Sevilla, and it’s likely that we see that foursome back together for this one. Héctor Bellerín and Marcos Alonso could be available to make their debuts, but it’s hard to see them starting just yet.
The midfield combination of Frenkie De Jong, Franck Kessie and Pedri looked very good against Plzen and might just end up becoming the go-to trio as the season goes on, but it’s safe to assume Sergio Busquets and Gavi are still starters in Xavi’s mind right now.
Those two will return to the lineup against Cádiz, and the doubt is whether or not Xavi will choose give Pedri a rest and start either De Jong or Kessie in his place. The Bayern game will be intense and demanding in midfield, and Pedri could definitely use a rest to prepare himself for the insanity in Munich.
It was a surprise to not see Raphinha involved at all against Plzen given how well the Brazilian has played so far, but he will almost certainly be picked to start against Cádiz. Especially if Xavi decides to rest Ousmane Dembélé ahead of the trip to Germany.
The Frenchman is enjoying his best run of form, health and fitness in a Barça shirt, and he’s become so crucial to the team that giving him a day off on Saturday to make sure he’s 100% for Bayern seems like the logical path.
Robert Lewandowski will continue to lead the attack and starts once again, and if Dembélé is indeed rested than it will be either Ansu Fati or Ferran Torres as the third forward. Ansu might not be physically ready to start two games in a row, and given how well Ferran played off the bench against Plzen it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Spaniard starting this one.
Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Eric, Balde; De Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Ferran (4-3-3)
How do you think Barcelona will line up against Cádiz? Let us know your thoughts, predictions and teams in the comments below!