Gerard Pique is back from suspension and should feature while teenage midfield duo Gavi and Nico Gonzalez should start when Barcelona face Sevilla.
Barcelona will be aiming to pick up a win in their final game of 2021 when they face off against second-placed Sevilla in La Liga at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Tuesday night.
Heading into the game, manager Xavi Hernandez has received a boost as veteran defender Gerard Pique is back in contention after serving his one-match ban for accumulation of cards. However, Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay, Sergino Dest, Sergi Roberto, Martin Braithwaite and Pedri remain injured. Yusuf Demir is also sidelined with a stomach issue and has been replaced in the squad by youngster Ilias Akhomach.
With the 3-3-1-3 formation working fairly well so far for Barcelona, Xavi is unlikely to tinker much with the tactical setup or personnel. However, there could be a few changes on the cards for the trip to Andalusia. Marc-Andre ter Stegen will start between the stick in what will be his 300th appearance for the Blaugrana.
The returning Pique should walk back into the starting XI, slotting in at the centre of the three-person defensive unit. Flanking him on either side should be Ronald Araujo and Clement Lenglet, meaning Eric Garcia drops out of the starting XI against Sevilla.
Club captain Sergio Busquets is a nailed-on starter at the base of the midfield for Barcelona. Partnering him in the middle of the park should be Frenkie de Jong, who is in need of an inspiration to turn things around, while Nico Gonzalez should also return to the lineup after scoring the winning goal against Elche on Saturday. The 19-year-old will be replacing Jordi Alba in the XI.
Gavi, who was Barcelona’s best player at the weekend, should slot in as the lone attacking midfielder. Xavi spoke about the 17-year-old prodigy in his pre-match press conference, urging the club to tie him down to a new long-term contract while praising the youth talent coming through the team.
As quoted by Barca Blaugranes, he said: “We’ll all chip in [for his contract] but he’s a spectacular player, we can’t lose that level of player. We can’t lose Gavi, Nico, Abde, Ansu, Pedri, Araujo, these guys are the present and the future of the club. And Gavi is definitely one of them. I understand, I know the club is working really well to negotiate his contract. He’s fundamental to this team.”
In front of Gavi, the three-man frontline ought to comprise Ousmane Dembele and the in-form Abde Ezzalzouli out on the wings while Ferran Jutgla starts as the No. 9 yet again.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen, Araujo, Pique, Lenglet, de Jong, Busquets, Nico, Gavi, Dembele, Jutgla, Abde.