Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets will play for the last time for Barcelona when they take on Celta Vigo at Balaidos on Sunday.
Barcelona will look to send off two legends with a win when they lock horns with Celta Vigo at the Balaidos on Sunday evening. But Xavi Hernandez has a new injury concern to deal with ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Alejandro Balde sustained an ankle injury against RCD Mallorca last weekend. And the Spanish international will be unavailable for the foreseeable future, even eating into his pre-season preparations. In addition, Pedri and Ronald Araujo are out of the travelling squad.
Xavi has again called up a few young prospects in the squad, and they might get a few minutes on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Barcelona manager did not discuss any team news during his pre-match press conference. But he confirmed that Marc-Andre ter Stegen will start against Celta Vigo.
He said, “The goal tomorrow is to win and give a good image. And others like keeping a clean sheet, winning Lewandowski’s Pichichi award… Celta are in a difficult situation, but we want to win. Ter Stegen will play tomorrow.”
As Xavi said, a few Barcelona players have something to play for this weekend. And Marc-Andre ter Stegen is vying for the record of keeping the most clean sheets in a league campaign. Meanwhile, Robert Lewandowski will look to win the Pichichi award at the first time of asking.
So ter Stegen will take his place between the sticks, with Barcelona lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of him. And the injured Balde will make way for Sergi Roberto in the right-back berth. The rest of the defensive unit should remain unchanged, featuring Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen, and Jordi Alba.
As for the midfield unit, Xavi will unlikely make any changes. So Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, and Gavi will take their places in the middle of the park. And Busquets will play his last competitive game for Barcelona, along with Alba. Meanwhile, Franck Kessie will be an option on the bench.
Moving on to the attack, Ansu Fati’s match-winning brace last weekend should earn him another start even as his future remains uncertain. The 20-year-old will join Robert Lewandowski and Ousmane Dembele in the final third. So Ferran Torres and Raphinha will be backup options on the bench.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Roberto, Kounde, Christensen, Alba; de Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Dembele, Lewandowski, Fati