Barcelona manager Xavi could make minor tweaks to the side facing Benfica with Gavi back in midfield and Ronald Araujo replacing Eric Garcia.
Barcelona will have a real test on hand when they face Benfica in the UEFA Champions League Group E. A win would give them the passage into the next round of the competition, something the manager will be aiming for on Tuesday night. Xavi could be making a few changes to the lineup that narrowly beat Espanyol at the weekend.
In terms of injuries, there are quite a few players missing from action for the clash against Benfica. While Sergio Aguero remains out for the foreseeable future, Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, Martin Braithwaite and Pedri are all expected to be absent.
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However, Sergio Busquets, Oscar Mingueza and Nico Gonzalez could feature despite being taken off with possible knocks at the weekend. Xavi confirmed this via his pre-match press conference, as reported by the club’s official site.
Xavi said, “Basically, the players we had to substitute on Saturday – Mingueza, Busquets and Nico – are fine. We’ll see this evening and tomorrow, but I don’t see any reason why they can’t play on Tuesday. Regarding those with injuries – Dembélé, Sergi Roberto, and Dest – it depends on how they feel, we don’t want players getting injured.”
Xavi could replace Eric Garcia with Ronald Araujo, who has come back to full fitness and made a cameo appearance against Espanyol. He would partner veteran star Gerard Pique at the heart of the Barcelona defence, while Oscar Mingueza and Jordi Alba are expected to cover the full-back roles. Marc-Andre ter Stegen will take up his customary position in goal.
Frenkie de Jong is a regular starter in central midfield and should feature from the kickoff against Benfica. He will be joined by captain Busquets and youngster Gavi, who played as part of the front three in the previous match against Espanyol.
Xavi could hand Yusuf Demir a chance to shine in the attacking third in the absence of regulars like Ansu Fati and Dembele. Memphis Depay should continue to lead the line, with Philippe Coutinho, who is now fully fit, set to take up the attacking role on the left.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Mingueza, Araujo, Pique, Alba; Gavi, Busquets, de Jong; Demir, Depay, Coutinho
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