Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie de Jong will return, while Jordi Alba will be back from suspension when Barcelona and Elche face off on Sunday.
Barcelona will aim to continue their brilliant run of form when they lock horns with Elche at Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero on Sunday afternoon. Xavi Hernandez has been handed a major boost on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Jordi Alba is back at the Barcelona manager’s disposal after serving a one-match suspension last weekend against Athletic Bilbao. The Spanish international’s return means Ansu Fati (hamstring), Alejandro Balde (ankle), Samuel Umtiti (foot), and Sergi Roberto (thigh) are the only players still on the sidelines.
During his pre-match press conference, Xavi did not have any team news updates, but heaped praise on Gerard Pique and Pedri. On Pique, the Barcelona manager said, “I can only say that I am delighted with him; his performance has been extraordinary for the team.”
Praising Pedri, Xavi said, “When I see Pedri play, he reminds me of Iniesta. I’m not going to think otherwise no matter how much criticism there is. Surely, we have to bridge the gap because of Andres’ career, who is the greatest talent I have seen in Spanish football, but I am not afraid for Pedri.”
Pedri should retain his spot in the middle of the park alongside Frenkie de Jong. The Dutchman will likely replace Gavi in the midfield unit, with Nico Gonzalez expected to start ahead of Sergio Busquets, who might be rested with one eye on the UEFA Europa League clash against Galatasaray.
Pique will also keep hold of his place in the defensive department, lining up alongside Ronald Araujo at the heart of the Barcelona defence. Jordi Alba will resume his left-back duties after becoming available again, while Dani Alves is a certain starter on the right flank. The four defenders will cover Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who will retain his spot between the sticks.
At the opposite end of the pitch, Xavi has plenty of options to choose from, especially with Memphis Depay fit and available again. The Dutchman will likely replace Ferran Torres on the left flank, allowing the Spaniard some much-needed rest.
Ousmane Dembele should also return after a fabulous performance against Athletic Bilbao, with Adama Traore making way for the Frenchman. Dembele and Depay will flank Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who will spearhead the Barcelona attack against Elche. Luuk de Jong, Adama Traore and Ferran Torres will be backup attacking options on the bench.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Alves, Araujo, Pique, Alba; Frenkie de Jong, Nico, Pedri; Dembele, Aubameyang, Depay