Ansu Fati will return, but Frenkie de Jong remains unavailable for the game between Barcelona and Girona at Camp Nou.
Barcelona will aim to bounce back to winning ways and stretch the lead atop La Liga when they welcome Girona at Spotify Camp Nou on Monday night. And Xavi Hernandez does not have any new injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Andreas Christensen, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, and Ousmane Dembele remain on the sidelines. And in the quartet’s absence, Xavi has named several academy prospects in the squad to take on Girona. These include Marc Casado, Angel Alarcon, Estanis Pedrola, and Aleix Garrido.
Meanwhile, during his pre-match press conference, Xavi addressed questions surrounding the injured players. The Barcelona manager refused to use that as an excuse for the heavy defeat to Real Madrid. Meanwhile, he provided an update on Pedri and Dembele.
Xavi said, “We don’t make excuses for the absentees, which are obviously noticeable. We have to mature. When we play Real Madrid we’ll have to be more forceful and not make mistakes that psychologically kill us. We are growing as a team and we are competing very well. In the big games we’ve lacked this maturity and that’s what we’re working on.”
Barcelona vs Girona Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats
On Pedri and Dembele, he said, “The feelings have not been good, it’s a question of feelings and they were looking forward to participating but we don’t want to take any risks. Their feelings will determine their return.”
Despite the heavy loss to Real Madrid, Xavi will unlikely make sweeping changes to the starting lineup. So Marc-Andre ter Stegen is an automatic pick between the sticks, with Barcelona lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of him.
The only change in the defensive unit will see Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo swapping places. So Kounde will move back to the right-back slot, with Araujo starting as a centre-back. The latter will line up alongside Marcos Alonso in the central defensive partnership, with Alejandro Balde starting as the left-back.
As for the midfield unit, Sergi Roberto might drop to the bench. And Gavi will drop into the middle of the park, vacating the left-wing berth. The Spanish international will likely join Franck Kessie and Sergio Busquets in the midfield trifecta.
As for the vacated left-wing slot, Ansu Fati should take it up, returning to the starting lineup. And finally, there is no looking past Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski in the final third. So Ferran Torres, Roberto, and Eric Garcia will be among the backup options on the bench.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Alonso, Balde; Kessie, Busquets, Gavi; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Fati
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