Oscar Mingueza may get the nod ahead of Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti when Barcelona meet Elche CF on Wednesday.
FC Barcelona lock horns with Elche CF on Wednesday, hoping to return to winning ways following a defeat to PSG and a subsequent draw with Cadiz at home.
Despite failing to make use of Atletico Madrid’s dropped points on the weekend, head coach Ronald Koeman has insisted that the league title is still attainable, during his pre-match press conference: “We can fight for the league.”
However, the Dutchman may once again have to make difficult decisions in terms of team selection this week as he continues to miss out on key defender Ronald Araujo. “Araújo is getting better, but he won’t be there for tomorrow. We’ll see how he is next week.”, Koeman said Tuesday.
Clement Lenglet had a disastrous game against Cadiz, conceding a silly penalty in the dying embers of the game. And one could expect Oscar Mingueza to return to the side in this game, as he looks to partner Gerard Pique at the heart of the four-man backline while Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba should occupy the fullback roles, as usual.
Koeman was rather coy when about Lenglet yesterday, stating “Lenglet starting tomorrow? These are decisions that have to be made as a coach. A player has to be convinced, show confidence in himself, and it also depends on the physical condition of the player, not only of Lenglet but of everyone.”
Moving into midfield, Sergio Busquets is likely to be handed a breather, having started the last two matches for FC Barcelona. He will make way for Miralem Pjanic at the base of the 4-3-3, with Pedri and Frenkie de Jong operating in the slightly advanced positions.
Koeman received a lot of criticism for taking off Pedri during the final phase of the game, but with the youngster almost an ever-present figure in the Barcelona setup, he may have to repeat that method this week.
There could be one change in the attack as well, with Francisco Trincao hoping to earn a rare start at the expense of Ousmane Dembele. The Portuguese youngster is hoping to impress alongside Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann in the Catalan attack.
Koeman doesn’t have too many alternatives unfortunately as Philippe Coutinho and Ansu Fati continue their spells on the sidelines. Martin Brathwaite and Dembele, therefore, remain the only options should the Dutchman look for more variety in attack.
Predicted Barcelona lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Dest, Mingueza, Pique, Alba; Pedri, Pjanic, de Jong; Trincao, Messi, Griezmann