Xavi Hernandez could welcome back Marc-Andre ter Stegen when Barcelona lock horns with Celta Vigo on Tuesday.
Barcelona are set to welcome Celta Vigo at Camp Nou on Tuesday night, in what could be a critical game in the context of the battle to finish in the top two.
The Catalans are currently sitting second in the La Liga table with a four-point lead over Sevilla. But any mishap could allow Los Nervionenses to make a swift recovery and put pressure on Barcelona as we head towards the business end of the campaign.
Barcelona are coming on the back of a 2-1 victory over Real Betis. But coach Xavi Hernandez was far from happy with the performance and might look to introduce some changes. There is a lot of noise surrounding Ansu Fati potentially getting a start, but Xavi has suggested he may take a cautious approach.
“Fati has to be more careful with his injury, but he comes on and scores goals. I’m glad he’s back, but I don’t know about his return to the Spanish national team. We are making a plan for him to be 100% ready for next season,” said the Barcelona coach when asked about the young winger.
Instead of starting Fati, Xavi could bring back Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in place of Ferran Torres, with the Gabonese international set to accompany Ousmane Dembele and Memphis Depay in the final third. Adama Traore and Fati remain key options on the bench for the home side.
In midfield, Xavi is facing a selection dilemma after Sergio Busquets picked up his tenth yellow card of the season, which rules him out of this clash. Barcelona are also missing Pedri and Nico Gonzalez through injury.
“It is difficult to replace Busquets because of his qualities. We will miss him tomorrow, but we have to play without him. Barcelona should have at least two players in every position,” Xavi said during his pre-match press conference.
With Busquets ruled out, Xavi could deploy Frenkie de Jong in the number six position. The Dutchman should be accompanied by Gavi and Riqui Puig, who will be handed a rare opportunity to make his presence felt after struggling with game-time throughout the season.
As for the defence, Xavi is unlikely to make any changes in light of the absences of Gerard Pique and Sergino Dest – both ruled out for the season. With Dani Alves, Jordi Alba, Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia set to continue in the Barcelona backline, the only defensive change could see the return of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Having recovered from the issue that forced him to miss the game against Real Betis, ter Stegen is tipped to replace Neto in goal, although the Brazilian performed rather well in the win this past weekend.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Alves, Araujo, Garcia, Alba; Puig, de Jong, Gavi; Dembele, Aubameyang, Depay