Gavi and Ferran Torres will return, but Ansu Fati will not play the game between Barcelona and Almeria this weekend.
Barcelona will aim to create a ten-point gap to Real Madrid atop La Liga when they lock horns with Almeria at Estadio Mediterraneo on Sunday evening. And Xavi Hernandez has greeted a mixed bag of updates on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Gavi is available after serving a suspension in the game against Manchester United on Thursday. But Ansu Fati will not feature due to a knee contusion. But the silver lining is that the young attacker will not be out for long and might return in a few days.
Meanwhile, Fati has joined Pedri and Ousmane Dembele on the sidelines. Dembele has resumed training and should be available soon. But the game against Almeria has come too soon for him. However, Ronald Araujo has recovered from a knock and is part of the travelling squad.
During his pre-match press conference, Xavi addressed questions surrounding Dembele, Fati, and Araujo. The Barcelona manager suggested that Dembele is making good progress. Meanwhile, he hopes to see Fati returning in time for the cup tie with Real Madrid on Thursday.
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Xavi said, “He [Dembele] is fine, yesterday he trained well. He looks fine, but is not 100% ready yet. He’s about to be back with the team. It depends on his recovery. We trust his instincts, he’s fine and that’s important. [Araujo] is 100% ready. We hope that Fati will be ready for El Clasico on Thursday.”
Despite being fit, Araujo might not start, with Xavi likely to preserve him for the game against Real Madrid. So Eric Garcia should form the central defensive partnership with Marcos Alonso, with Andreas Christensen also likely to rest ahead of the midweek fixture. Jordi Alba and Jules Kounde should be the two full-backs, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen featuring between the sticks.
As for the midfield unit, Sergio Busquets might drop to the bench, keeping in mind the upcoming El Clasico. Frenkie de Jong will sit at the base of the midfield unit, with Sergi Roberto and Franck Kessie starting alongside him.
Gavi should take up the left-wing berth, with Ferran Torres replacing Raphinha on the right flank. Finally, Robert Lewandowski will spearhead the Barcelona attack against Almeria on Sunday. Raphinha and Alejandro Balde will be among the backup options for Xavi.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Kounde, Eric Garcia, Alonso, Alba; Roberto, de Jong, Kessie; Torres, Lewandowski, Gavi
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