clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How will Barcelona line up against Real Betis in La Liga?

The leaders return home for another tough matchup

FC Barcelona Vs Girona FC - La Liga Photo by Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After a very bad night in Madrid and a painful defeat to Rayo Vallecano, Barcelona return home for more La Liga action as they look to protect their 11-point lead at the top of the table when they welcome Real Betis to the Spotify Camp Nou.

The Catalans wasted the chance to effectively end the title race in midweek and played one of their worst games of the year in the capital, but have a chance to come back home and return to winning ways to continue their march to the trophy.

But it won’t be easy as Betis remain one of the best teams in the league and pushed Barça to the limit in both of their meetings this season, once in the league and once in the Spanish Super Cup. Here’s how we think Xavi Hernández will line up his troops for battle on Wednesday.


FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The manner of the defeat on Wednesday was much worse than the result, given the loss didn’t impact the title race in any meaningful way. But the performance was concerning, and it was one of those nights where nothing went right no matter what the players or the coach tried.

The good news is Barça get serious reinforcements for this one: Xavi has already confirmed two key starters will be medically cleared to play, and all signs point to both starting on Saturday. One of them is Andreas Christensen, one of the team’s best players all season who has been a big miss at the back since his calf injury.

Christensen return should also bring back the “BACK” quartet that dominated the league in January and February, with Jules Kounde at right-back, Ronald Araujo alongside Andreas in the middle and Alejandro Balde at left-back.


FC Barcelona v Girona FC - LaLiga Santander Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Sergio Busquets missed the trip to Vallecas through suspension and his poise and command in midfield could have definitely help, so having the captain back is very good news. His comeback also gives Xavi the chance to finally revisit his favorite formation with Frenkie De Jong and Pedri in midfield and Gavi as a false left-winger.

That specific four-man midfield combination was the main ingredient in Barça’s best stretch of play this season in the six weeks between the beginning of January and the middle of February before crucial injuries started hitting the squad. It might take a while for the rhythm to return, but just having the band back together will help the team look like itself again.


FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad - Copa Del Rey Quarter Final Photo by Gerard Franco\DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The second big return from injury expected for this one is Ousmane Dembélé, who had his recovery very carefully managed to make sure he would be 100% fit when returning. The Frenchman could have easily played against Rayo but was saved for this weekend, so it’s safe to assume he starts on Saturday and plays around 60 minutes.

Robert Lewandowski scored and was one of the very few Barça players who were not terrible on Wednesday, and the Pole will be looking to score in consecutive league games for the first time since last October.

Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; Pedri, Busquets, De Jong; Dembélé, Lewandowski, Gavi (4-3-3)

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

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes