Marc-Andre ter Stegen should make his first La Liga start of the season while Ousmane Dembele and Clement Lenglet should start for Barcelona against Real Betis.
Barcelona will be hoping to turn things around and return to winning ways in La Liga when they take on Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis at Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon.
Ahead of the game, the Catalans haven’t been dealt with any fresh injury concerns, with Ronald Araujo, Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti the only three players ruled out, although the latter is closing in on a return, as revealed by manager Ronald Koeman in his pre-match press conference. (h/t Barca Blaugranes)
The Barcelona boss expressed his pleasure at having first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen back, with the German international impressing in his first appearance of the season against Dynamo Kyiv in midweek.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 6, 2020
“In his first match he’s been fantastic, we know he’s great. I’m very happy with his performance after such a long time away,” Koeman said. Having done well in the Champions League game, ter Stegen should make his first league start of the season on Saturday against Real Betis.
There ought to be a couple of alterations in the Barcelona defence with Clement Lenglet starting alongside Gerard Pique after being benched for the midweek game, while Sergi Roberto is expected to replace Sergino Dest at right-back. There is no looking past Jordi Alba for the left-back slot.
Frenkie de Jong started the last game at the heart of the defence but, against Betis, the Dutchman should feature as part of the midfield double pivot, alongside Sergio Busquets, who should return to the lineup. “We are limited in defence because of injuries, so we’ve seen Frenkie can play in that position. But I think more about Frenkie playing in midfield,” Koeman said.
Ansu Fati has been in top form for Barcelona this season and is a certainty to feature on the left flank. On the opposite wing, Koeman might opt to hand Ousmane Dembele a starting berth after having left him out of the side against Kyiv.
Lionel Messi’s commitment was called into question this week after a clip of him walking disinterestedly when Dynamo Kyiv were pressing for an equaliser late in the game went viral. Koeman though, refused to comment, iterating that his captain remains a key player and is in good shape mentally.
“I’m not interested in this. If you want to start a controversy around this point, it’s your problem. Messi is mentally good, looks strong, enjoying this sport. He’s very important to our game,” the Dutchman said. The Barcelona skipper ought to line up in the No. 10 role, playing off of the main striker Antoine Griezmann against Real Betis.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, de Jong; Dembele, Messi, Fati; Griezmann