Miralem Pjanic and Pedri are in line to return, but Philippe Coutinho is likely to drop to the bench when Barcelona host Real Sociedad at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Barcelona will be eager to build on their crucial win over Levante this past weekend when they play hosts to Real Sociedad at Camp Nou on Wednesday night. And, Ronald Koeman does not have any fresh injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
The Barcelona manager is missing the services of four first-team players, with Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele still sidelined with their respective injuries. Koeman, though, has enough cover in his squad to compensate for the absence of the quartet.
In Roberto’s absence, Sergino Dest is a certainty in the right-back slot and the young defender will continue his extended run in the side. On the opposite flank, there is no looking past Jordi Alba. At the heart of the Barcelona defence, Ronald Araujo should continue partnering Clement Lenglet after a much-improved display against Levante. In goal, Marc-Andre ter Stegen picks himself.
Up ahead in midfield, Koeman should continue rotating Miralem Pjanic and Sergio Busquets, with the Bosnian set to come into the side against Real Sociedad. The Barcelona boss spoke about Pjanic during his pre-match press conference (h/t Barca Universal), saying, “I spoke to him about the things he needs to improve; I like his attitude. I don’t want players on the bench to feel unhappy.”
Pjanic will have Frenkie de Jong as his partner in the midfield double pivot, with Busquets, Carles Alena and Riqui Puig all being backup options on the bench. Koeman also spoke on Puig during his presser, saying, “There are many more players in his situation. The coach decides through the training and attitude of the player.”
The only other change to the starting lineup should see Philippe Coutinho make way for Pedri. The impressive Pedri will be stationed on the left wing, with Antoine Griezmann reprising his favoured no. 10 role. On the right flank, Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is an automatic pick, while Martin Braithwaite, who has been in fine touch of late, will continue to lead the line against Real Sociedad.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; Pjanic, de Jong; Messi, Griezmann, Pedri; Braithwaite