Adama Traore and Eric Garcia will return, but Ousmane Dembele could get some rest when Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano face off on Sunday.
Barcelona will look to consolidate the second spot on the La Liga table when they play hosts to Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou on Sunday night. And Xavi Hernandez has nearly a fully fit squad at his disposal ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto, and Samuel Umtiti remain unavailable for the game this weekend, but all three players are closing in on returning. The good news is that Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo and Dani Alves have shrugged off the knocks they picked up earlier this week against Real Sociedad to be a part of the matchday squad.
But the trio should be rested for the game against Rayo Vallecano. While Xavi Hernandez did not reveal much in his pre-match press conference, he spoke about Fati’s progress on his recovery trail and Pique’s fitness situation.
The Barcelona boss said, “Ansu Fati depends on his feelings. If he is 100% ready we will try to involve him. He is training with the group, I think he will return against Mallorca. Pique has been playing for two-three months with muscle discomfort, his commitment is great, we will see tomorrow.”
As iterated, Pique and Araujo will receive a breather, leaving Eric Garcia and Clement Lenglet to form the central defensive partnership. Sergino Dest will start as Barcelona’s right-back, while Jordi Alba picks himself on the left flank. The four Barcelona defenders will cover Marc-Andre ter Stegen against Rayo Vallecano.
Up ahead in midfield, Xavi might not tinker with his first-choice unit, especially in the absence of Pedri, who is recovering from a long-term injury. With Pedri unavailable to take on Rayo Vallecano, Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, and Gavi become automatic picks in the middle of the park for Barcelona.
Finally, Xavi has nearly all his resources available to him in the final third. But Ousmane Dembele is in line to get some rest after playing relentlessly in the last few games. Adama Traore will start in Dembele’s absence on the right flank, with Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completing the Barcelona attack.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Dest, Lenglet, Garcia, Alba; Frenkie de Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Traore, Aubameyang, Torres