Predicted Barcelona lineup against Real Betis: Garcia in for Pique; Neto set for a rare start

Neto will make a rare start, while Eric Garcia will replace the injured Gerard Pique when Barcelona and Real Betis face off on Saturday.

Barcelona will hope to build on the 2-1 win over RCD Mallorca when they lock horns with Real Betis at the Benito Villamarin Stadium on Saturday night. And Xavi Hernandez has been handed a double blow on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture.

Gerard Pique is out for the remainder of the season due to a flare-up of a previous thigh injury. The veteran defender has joined Sergino Dest, Oscar Mingueza, Nico Gonzalez, Pedri, Sergi Roberto and Martin Braithwaite on the lengthy absentee list for Barcelona.

In addition, Marc-Andre ter Stegen could miss the trip to Andalusia to take on Real Betis due to an illness. Xavi talked about Pique and ter Stegen during his pre-match press conference while also speaking about Ansu Fati has his progress.

The Barcelona boss said, “Marc was sick today, we will see his condition tomorrow, the squad list will be confirmed then. Pique has an injury in his left thigh, he will not be there tomorrow. It’s a pity because he is such an important player.”

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On Ansu Fati, Xavi said, “He is fine and training well, as I said last week. He is in good shape physically, but we have to be careful, we must not rush, he is training well and we will see his condition. He will help us.”

As Xavi iterated, the travelling squad is not released yet, meaning ter Stegen could have the chance to feature against Real Betis. But as things stand, Neto is in line to make a rare start for Barcelona, with the Blaugrana lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of him.

Eric Garcia will replace the injured Pique, lining up alongside Ronald Araujo at the heart of the Barcelona defence. Jordi Alba picks himself in the left-back slot, while Dani Alves is a certainty on the right flank in Dest’s absence.

Up ahead in midfield, Xavi will unlikely make a change, especially with Nico and Pedri unavailable. The Barcelona boss will go ahead with Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets and Gavi in the middle of the park, with Riqui Puig a backup midfield option.

Finally, the attacking unit might not see a change either, even though Ousmane Dembele is pushing for a start. Memphis Depay should keep his place after scoring against Mallorca, while Ferran Torres will likely start on the right flank. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will spearhead the Barcelona attack against Real Betis, with Dembele and Fati being backup options.

Predicted Barcelona XI: Neto; Alves, Araujo, Garcia, Alba; Frenkie de Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Torres, Aubameyang, Memphis

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