Attacking sensation Ansu Fati is poised to start when FC Barcelona welcome Valencia to Camp Nou on Sunday evening.
Barcelona are in desperate need of a win as they take on Valencia at Camp Nou on Sunday evening. The Catalan giants are heading into this game on the back of two successive defeats to SL Benfica and Atletico Madrid and are dawdling in mid-table.
The pressure is immense on head coach Ronald Koeman, who is well aware of the fact that Valencia are a tricky opponent under Jose Bordalas. Fortunately for the Barcelona boss, though, he has been boosted by the potential return of Sergio Aguero heading into this contest.
“Kun has improved a lot lately. He played in a friendly match on Wednesday but he’s missing rhythm, last Ansu did when he first came back, but he’ll get that back with minutes. There’s a possibility he’ll be included in the squad,” said Koeman, during the pre-match press conference.
Aguero is likely to start on the bench, with Ansu Fati and Memphis Depay spearheading the Barcelona attack. Koeman did seem coy when asked about the possibility of Fati starting his first game since returning from injury, stating, “We’ll see tomorrow. Every day he’s improving but he’s been out for a long, long time and you just don’t get that match fitness back in two weeks.”
Meanwhile, in midfield, Pedri, who has recently signed a contract extension, has been ruled out due to injury. He is set to be deputized by yet another super-talent in Gavi, in the three-man midfield, alongside Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong.
“Gavi has demonstrated, despite his age, that he knows how to play at the highest level. When you give him the chance, like I did and like Luis Enrique has, he’s taken advantage and that’s what’s beautiful about football,” said Koeman, when asked about the youngster’s rapid rise to prominence.
In defence, Barcelona are likely to shift back to a three-man setup, which means Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba could operate as wing-backs, offering the width to the team, as well as the necessary support going forward.
Unfortunately, Barcelona are missing out on Ronald Araujo, so the onus will be on Gerard Pique to lead the three-man backline, consisting of him, Eric Garcia and Oscar Mingueza, as they look to cover Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Mingueza, Garcia, Pique; Dest, de Jong, Busquets, Gavi, Alba; Fati, Depay