Jordi Alba is back in contention while Ferran Jutgla and Abde Ezzalzouli are in line to start when Barcelona take on Elche in La Liga.
Barcelona will be aiming to close down the gap to the top four with a victory when they lock horns with relegation-battlers Elche in La Liga at Camp Nou on Saturday evening.
Leading up to the game, manager Xavi Hernandez has been handed an injury boost as Jordi Alba is back in contention after recovering from his fitness problems. Ousmane Dembele, who picked up a knock last time out against Osasuna, is also fit and available for selection.
“Jordi and Ousmane are available to play. They trained with the team. It was more just some muscular cramps he experienced in Pamplona but no important injury,” Xavi confirmed in his pre-match press conference (h/t Barca Blaugranes). However, Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay, Pedri, Martin Braithwaite and Sergi Roberto remain sidelined while Dani Alves is ineligible to feature.
The manager opted to field the team in a 3-3-1-3 formation against Osasuna and might continue with a similar shape on Saturday in front of Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Gerard Pique will be unavailable for selection as he is suspended for the game. Eric Garcia could replace the veteran defender while Clement Lenglet should come in for Samuel Umtiti, with Ronald Araujo taking up the other centre-back slot.
There is no looking past Barça captain Sergio Busquets in the defensive midfield role. The veteran superstar will be the anchorman for the home team, while his midfield partners Gavi and Nico Gonzalez are given the license to push forward and make things happen in the final third of the pitch. Frenkie de Jong, meanwhile, should operate as the No. 10 for the Catalan giants.
With no Depay, Braithwaite and Luuk de Jong struggling, Barcelona are short on options in the No. 9 role. It could pave the way for youngster Ferran Jutgla to start after he impressed in the midweek Maradona Cup clash against Boca Juniors.
“He scored a great goal the other day, played really well both on the wing and No. 9. He moves well in the space . He’s one of the possibilities. The young players are giving so much to the team. They have arrived with a lot of excitement and are well prepared. Yes, he’s one of the options,” Xavi said in his pre-match presser.
The 22-year-old could thus be getting the nod as the striker against Elche on Saturday. Partnering him in attack should be the fit-again Dembele from the right flank and Abde Ezzalzouli, who enjoyed a fine game against Osasuna last weekend.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen, Araujo, Garcia, Lenglet, Nico, Busquets, Gavi, de Jong, Dembele, Jutgla, Abde.