Samuel Umtiti is in line to come in for the suspended Gerard Pique while Antoine Griezmann will return when Barcelona take on Real Betis on Sunday.
Barcelona will be hoping to move on from their midweek Copa del Rey debacle when they lock horns with Real Betis at Estadio Benito Villamarin on Sunday night. And, Quique Setien has been handed a setback ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Veteran defender Gerard Pique will be unavailable for the trip to take on Real Betis due to a one-match ban, accrued due to an accumulation of yellow cards. During his pre-match presser (h/t Barca Blaugranes), Setien was asked to comment on how he would fill in Pique’s gap.
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“We have some players who have come up to train from the B team. Araujo will surely travel with us. There are other players we are looking at. We will try to find solutions in defence but the position that needs to be strengthened is in attack.”
Pique is likely to be replaced by Samuel Umtiti, who will partner Clement Lenglet at the heart of the Barcelona defence. In-form Portuguese defender Nelson Semedo is an automatic pick at right-back. On the opposite flank, former Real Betis star Junior Firpo is likely to be pipped by Jordi Alba. In goal, Marc-Andre ter Stegen picks himself.
Up ahead in midfield, there will be minimal changes, with Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong keeping hold of their places. The third spot in the middle of the park could go to the fit-again Arturo Vidal, who will come in for Ivan Rakitic. Setien, meanwhile, has included youngsters Riqui Puig and Alex Collado in the squad to face Real Betis and spoke of the duo.
“They’re two very different players, we’re figuring out what kind of players we need most. They both have opportunities to play, we’re seeing what they’re capable of doing in the training sessions. Riqui has a lot of competition in his position, but Collado will surely get more chances as he is more attacking.”
Against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey earlier this week, Setien chose to field Sergi Roberto in the three-pronged attack, with Antoine Griezmann making way for the Spanish international. Barcelona captain Lionel Messi started in a central role, but Griezmann will return to reprise the role against Real Betis. Ansu Fati will complete the numbers in attack.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Semedo, Lenglet, Umtiti, Alba; Vidal, Busquets, de Jong; Messi, Griezmann, Fati