Barcelona will look to continue their impressive start to the campaign with a win over RCD Mallorca away from home this weekend.
Barcelona are currently two points adrift of league leaders Real Madrid, having picked up 16 points from six outings so far. They will fancy their chances of climbing to the top of the table when they take on RCD Mallorca on Saturday night.
Barcelona have a number of injury issues to deal with, especially at the back. Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo will miss the game because of their respective injuries. While Kounde is expected to return soon, Araujo is a long-term absentee following his surgery.
Sergi Roberto has been confirmed in the squad travelling to Mallorca, and his return will come as a boost for Xavi. Barcelona are lacking in depth in the right-back spot, and Roberto is expected to slot in there. Xavi spoke about Roberto’s presence in the starting lineup during his pre-match press conference. He also expressed his frustration over the absence of several key players.
The Barcelona boss said, “We have a few options, like Sergi Roberto, or Marc Casado from Barça Atlètic, or we can use a left-back there. I’m disappointed… but we have to be positive. All the injured players are important to us.”
“But it is what it is. We have to be careful and pay attention to every detail. There is no particular reason why a lot of players got injured. Injuries are nobody’s fault, not even the national teams’ fault. Bellerin has also been injured with us… It’s not about blaming anyone. I told the squad that everyone was going to be needed.”
Andreas Christensen and Eric Garcia are expected to start at the heart of the Barcelona defence in the absence of Kounde and Araujo. Finally, Alejandro Balde, who has impressed with Barcelona this season, is expected to start as the left-back against Mallorca on Saturday.
As for the midfield unit, Frenkie de Jong picked up an injury during the international break, and Franck Kessie is expected to continue in the middle of the park alongside Sergio Busquets and Pedri, with Gavi being an option on the bench.
Memphis Depay also picked up a knock while on international duty, and the Dutchman will miss out after starting the last game against Elche. In his absence, the front three pretty much picks itself, with Robert Lewandowski leading the line for Barcelona against Mallorca.
Ousmane Dembele and Raphinha will be on the flanks, providing Barcelona with the firepower in the final third. The Brazilian winger started on the bench against Elche, and he will look to make his mark here. Marc-Andre ter Stegen will continue in goal.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Roberto, Garcia, Christensen, Balde; Kessie, Busquets, Pedri; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Dembele