Barcelona are back in La Liga action this weekend as they look to stay top of the table and extend their unbeaten streak since the World Cup as they welcome Getafe to the Spotify Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon.
Barça followed their Spanish Super Cup win with a dominant victory away to Ceuta to advance in the Copa del Rey, and the Blaugrana look to keep the good vibes going with three more points to go six above Real Madrid for at least a couple of hours.
Getafe have been near the relegation zone for the entire season so far but have a knack for making things very tough for Barça and will no doubt put up a tough fight. Here’s how we think Xavi Hernández will line up his troops on Sunday.
After resting all of his starters against Ceuta there is no doubt that Xavi will go back to the team that dominated Real Madrid in the Supercopa title match. That really is Barça’s Gala XI at the moment, but Robert Lewandowski’s suspension means it will be a Gala 10 this weekend.
At the back it will be once again Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen and Alejandro Balde. Those four looked like a fantastic unit and are clearly the best defenders in the squad at the moment, and the only question will be who starts at right-back. Araujo played there against Madrid and Vinicius Jr., but Kounde has played most of the season in that role and will probably return to that spot against Getafe.
Xavi has leaned all the way into the four-man midfield over the last couple of weeks, and starting Gavi, Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong and Pedri together has proven very successful against most teams. There will be different matchups that will require only three of those players, but it seems having that whole quartet on the pitch gives Barça the most control and attacking creativity.
Xavi has tried both Gavi and Pedri on the left wing in different games, but Sunday’s gameplan against Madrid with Gavi out wide proved the most successful. The youngster was very comfortable and made great runs and decisions in the final third, so starting him on the left in the four-midfielder system seems to be the right formula.
Lewandowski and Ferran Torres are both suspended and Memphis Depay is no longer a Barça player, so there will be only three available forwards on Sunday. That combined with the likely use of the four midfielders makes it almost a guarantee that only two attackers will be on the pitch from the start in this one.
Raphinha was excellent against Ceuta and had one of his best games in a Barça shirt, but he’ll probably be the odd man out as Xavi likely turns to Ousmane Dembélé on the right. Ansu Fati will start up front per the coach himself, and the Prince has more than earned a start with his great substitute cameos as of late.
Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; Gavi, Busquets, De Jong; Dembélé, Fati, Pedri (4-3-3)
How do you think Barcelona should line up against Getafe? Let us know your thoughts, predictions and teams in the comments below!