Ten youth players have been called into the matchday squad ahead of Barcelona’s La Liga outings against RCD Mallorca on Sunday.

Barcelona will resume their La Liga campaign on Sunday when they lock horns with RCD Mallorca. It is a must-win game for the visitors in their quest to catch up with the likes of Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad in the top four race.

Unfortunately, the game could not have come at a worse time, as Barcelona coach Xavi is missing up to 15 senior first-team players. It is already a surprise that the game is taking place, especially with their opponent Mallorca also hit hard by COVID-19 infections.

“It was the right moment to suspend the game. Common sense should be used. There is no point playing tomorrow. Mallorca also have a difficult situation, they also have positive cases… If this game is not suspended I don’t know anymore. A few months ago the game against Sevilla was suspended because of the international break, then we only missed a few players,” Xavi lamented just before the game.

While the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Gavi, Abde Ezzalzouli, Philippe Coutinho, Jordi Alba, Alejandro Balde and Dani Alves, among many others, have all been ruled out, there was a slight positive in the form of Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti. Both the defenders have tested negative and have returned just in time to be included in the matchday squad.

RCD Mallorca vs Barcelona Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats

At the same time, it leaves Xavi with up to six centre-backs and no full-backs at his disposal, which could result in Ronald Araujo playing at right-back once again. Xavi may also fancy starting Oscar Mingueza at left-back, with Gerard Pique and Eric Garcia likely to retain their places at the heart of Barcelona’s four-man backline.

However, it won’t be surprising to see the young and talented youth team player Guillem Jaime being given his start at right-back. The youngster is a more natural solution in the position, making him a handy option to have for Xavi.

As for midfield personnel, Sergi Roberto is injured, Pedri is not fully fit, and Sergio Busquets is serving a suspension. Gavi, as mentioned earlier, is not available due to a COVID-19 infection, leaving Xavi with no option but to start with an unconventional midfield trifecta of Frenkie de Jong, Nico Gonzalez and Riqui Puig, who will have an excellent opportunity to make an impression in the first-team.

“For Riqui, tomorrow is an opportunity, of course, to show that he can be here. For him and for everyone who plays,” Xavi said when asked about the young midfielder in the pre-match press conference.

Moving forward, Xavi is without Memphis Depay due to injury, while Coutinho, Ezzalzouli, Dembele remain unavailable. Ansu Fati and Martin Braithwaite are not fully fit either, whereas new signing Ferran Torres is not ready to make his debut, thus leaving Xavi with only one recognised first-team option in the form of Luuk de Jong.

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There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the Dutchman’s future. But Xavi affirmed their status in the first-team, suggesting that “they’re a part of the squad now”. It hints at the fact that Luuk de Jong may once again spearhead the Barcelona frontline, with the all help of two academy wingers in Ilias Akhomach and Ferran Jutgla.

Xavi does have a slew of other alternatives, including Estanis Pedrola, who might be handed a few minutes, most likely at the expense of de Jong.

Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Araujo, Pique, Garcia, Mingueza; Nico, Frenkie de Jong, Puig; Akhomach, Luuk de Jong, Jutgla

One Response to “Predicted Barcelona lineup against RCD Mallorca: Luuk de Jong to spearhead the attack; Puig to start in midfield”

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  1. Muritala says:

    But how it is they have to suspend the match, about 18 plays
    tested positive, but anyhow it is will try our possible to win, and have the 3 point, up Barca.

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