Ronald Araujo is in line for a start while Frenkie de Jong should move to midfield when Barcelona face off against Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Barcelona will be pushing to reclaim the second spot in La Liga table when they lock horns with fifth-placed Real Sociedad at the Reale Arena on Sunday night.
Heading into the game, there has been an injury boost for Barcelona as Sergi Roberto has returned to training. However, he has not been named in the travelling squad by manager Ronald Koeman, who also continues to be without Gerard Pique, Philippe Coutinho and wonderkid Ansu Fati.
Speaking on the teenage prodigy’s injury in his press conference (h/t Barca Blaugranes), Koeman said, “It’s true it’s taken a bit longer than we expected in the beginning because he had some issues to start with and that was the reason that it’s taken a bit more time than we expected in the beginning. “He’s now working well in the gym, in a few weeks, he will start training outside.”
With no other fresh injury concerns, Koeman will keep changes at a minimum when Barcelona face Real Sociedad. In goal, there is no looking past the influential presence of Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Oscar Mingueza and Clement Lenglet are also certain starters in defence for the Catalans.
There could be one alteration, however, as Ronald Araujo, who is fit and has had some minutes under his belt now, ready to start. The Uruguayan should start at the centre of the three-man defensive unit for Barcelona. This selection, in turn, should allow Frenkie de Jong to move into his natural midfield role.
The Dutchman has started the last two matches as a centre-back but should return to his preferred position on Sunday, where he will have Sergio Busquets and Pedri for company. Ilaix Moriba, as has been the case lately, should continue to get minutes from the bench.
Jordi Alba remains the undisputed starter at left wing-back while Sergino Dest, who seems to be relishing the wing-back role of late, should continue out on the right flank.
As for the attack, Antoine Griezmann scored a screamer of a goal against Huesca last time out and had a good game all-round. However, de Jong’s return to midfield means one attacker will have to drop out and the Frenchman could be the unlucky one as captain Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele could be preferred in the two-pronged strike force.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Mingueza, Araujo, Lenglet; Dest, de Jong, Busquets, Pedri, Alba; Dembele, Messi