Sergio Busquets and Raphinha will return when Barcelona and Real Madrid meet in their fourth clash of 2023 at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Barcelona will aim to reach the Copa del Rey final when they welcome Real Madrid to Spotify Camp Nou on Wednesday night. And Xavi Hernandez has greeted a positive update on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Raphinha is available after serving a suspension at the weekend. The Brazilian international’s return means Xavi is without four first-team players for the semi-final second leg. Andreas Christensen, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, and Ousmane Dembele remain unavailable and are not in the midweek squad.
During his pre-match press conference, Xavi Hernandez addressed questions surrounding Pedri and de Jong. He also spoke about Eric Garcia and the Spaniard’s recent performance as a holding midfielder.
Xavi said, “Without De Jong and Pedri, we might not have the ball as much as we would like, but we will try to control the game and play attacking football.”
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On Garcia, Xavi said, “I think that everything is compatible in football. Eric is an intelligent player who can adapt to many positions. It adds value to him, he could play as a full-back as well, we know that.”
Despite Garcia’s impressive performance, Sergio Busquets should return to the starting eleven. And the Barcelona captain will assume his usual spot at the base of the midfield unit. Busquets should line up alongside Franck Kessie and Gavi in the middle of the park.
As for the defensive unit, Xavi might not sanction many changes. But Alejandro Balde should replace Jordi Alba in the left-back slot. The youngster will join Jules Kounde, Marcos Alonso, and Ronald Araujo in the backline. Meanwhile, there is no looking past Marc-Andre ter Stegen between the sticks.
Finally, the offensive unit should see one change, with Raphinha returning to the right flank after serving his suspension. Ferran Torres should drop to the bench to make room for Raphinha. So Robert Lewandowski and Ansu Fati will reprise the same roles from the weekend against Real Madrid.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Alonso, Balde; Kessie, Busquets, Gavi; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Fati
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