Philippe Coutinho and Sergi Roberto will return but Frenkie de Jong is suspended for Barcelona’s La Liga outing against Levante on Sunday.
Barcelona will be desperate to bounce back to winning ways and bridge the gap to the top of the La Liga table when they play hosts to Levante at Camp Nou on Sunday. And Ronald Koeman has had a mixed bag of updates on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
The good news comes in the form of Ansu Fati, who has regained his fitness to a great extent, having resumed training lately. However, key midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Pedri will miss out against Levante, with the former suspended after being sent off against Cadiz while the latter is out with an injury till November at the very least.
In addition, the likes of Alejandro Balde (back), Moussa Wague (knee), Ousmane Dembele (knee), Sergio Aguero (calf) and Martin Braithwaite (knee) are all sidelined as well while another major absentee for Barcelona is Jordi Alba, who is recovering from a hamstring injury.
During his pre-match press conference (h/t Barca Universal), Koeman was quizzed about the prospects of Ansu Fati in the upcoming game against Levante, with the Barcelona boss also reserving some praise for Gavi, who has been sensational since making his debut this season.
On Fati, Koeman said, “The return of Ansu is very important. He has been away for a long time and we follow a plan to give him minutes, if all goes well, starting tomorrow, he will play a maximum of 15 minutes.”
“We are not going to rush things with Ansu, we must follow the plan. Ansu will not be at full capacity in two games or two weeks. You have to help the player. You have to help him. It will depend on his condition. With the medical staff we have to be very cautious.”
Gavi, as iterated earlier, was also hailed by the Barcelona boss, who said, “There are very good young players with a great future. Gavi may play tomorrow, because we only have 17 outfield players available. We are very limited and Gavi has shown in a very short time that he has a place in this team.”
The 17-year-old should feature in the three-man midfield for Barcelona, with Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto sitting alongside him. Roberto will be the man to replace the suspended Frenkie de Jong in this game.
Up ahead in attack, Philippe Coutinho could get a chance to impress, with the Brazilian playmaker replacing Yusuf Demir. Luuk de Jong will once again lead the line for Barcelona against Levante, with Memphis Depay a certainty on the left wing. Ansu Fati, as iterated by Koeman, has been included in the matchday squad, and will appear off the bench late on to get some much-needed minutes.
As for the defensive unit, the entire back four will remain unchanged owing to the absence of players like Alba and Balde. So, Sergino Dest will be the makeshift left-back, with Oscar Mingueza starting on the right flank. At the heart of the Barcelona defence, Ronald Araujo should pair up with Gerard Pique, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen taking his place in goal.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Mingueza, Araujo, Pique, Dest; Gavi, Busquets, Roberto; Coutinho, Luuk de Jong, Memphis