Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati will start, but Robert Lewandowski will be unavailable when Barcelona and Valencia face off on Sunday.
Barcelona crashed to a defeat against Almeria in their last league game, and Xavi Hernandez will demand a strong reaction from his players against Valencia on Sunday. But the league leaders have a number of important injuries to deal with.
Xavi will be without the services of star striker Robert Lewandowski, who is recovering from his hamstring injury. The Polish international picked up the knock during the loss to Almeria and is set to miss out here.
Midfielders Pedri and Gavi will be sidelined as well, with the latter suspended after picking up too many yellow cards. Barcelona are likely to struggle without their creativity and goal-scoring ability from the middle of the park.
French international winger Ousmane Dembele is recovering from a thigh injury, and he will not feature either. Meanwhile, Xavi spoke about the aforementioned absentees during his pre-match press conference. He also addressed questions surrounding other players, like Andreas Christensen and Ansu Fati.
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Xavi said, “Christensen will be ready for tomorrow. Lewandowski has improved and is feeling well. Pedri and Dembele are continuing their own recovery. All forwards have to score. I see Fati is fine, he will be important to the team, I’m sure.”
Barcelona are likely to persist with their 4-3-3 formation, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal. Xavi has also confirmed that although Jules Kounde prefers to play as the central defender, he might have to operate as a makeshift full-back because of the circumstances of the team.
Alejandro Balde is also likely to be deployed as the left-back here. The two players will be expected to add creativity and width to the side. At the heart of the defence, Ronald Araujo will partner Andreas Christensen.
On Kounde, Xavi said, :Kounde prefers to play as a centre-back, but there are circumstances for the team and he adapts very well. He is a defensive guarantee, an amazing signing for us.”
Experienced star and club captain Sergio Busquets will anchor the midfield and look to win the ball back for his side. Sergi Roberto is likely to be handed a start in the midfield as well. The experienced ace signed a new contract recently and hope to make his mark in this game.
Roberto will look to keep the midfield compact with his defensive contributions. Frenkie de Jong will be expected to drive the team forward and add creativity to the side in the absence of Pedri and Gavi. Ferran Torres could be handed a start here as the striker in the absence of Lewandowski, with Ansu Fati and Raphinha on either side of him.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; de Jong, Busquets, Roberto; Raphinha, Torres, Fati
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