Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet are poised to start when Barcelona take on Getafe on Sunday.
FC Barcelona will lock horns with Getafe on Sunday evening in what would be their final away match of the season. A win for the visitors could help them clinch the second place in La Liga, which could go a long way in aiding them financially come the summer transfer window.
However, heading into this game, Xavi Hernandez has been dealt with a few fresh injury blows, with Eric Garcia, Frenkie de Jong and Jordi Alba all being ruled out of the contest. They have joined Gerard Pique, Sergino Dest and Pedri on the club’s long list of absentees.
Ronald Araujo is expected to be fit for the Getafe encounter. But Xavi seemed apprehensive when asked about his participation suggesting, “He wants to play tomorrow, which means a lot to us. He fainted for a moment in the Celta game, but it will depend on his feelings.”
With Araujo unlikely to be risked, we could witness a central defensive combination of outcasts Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti, thanks to the absence of Pique, Garcia and potentially Araujo, who was involved in a nasty collision of heads with teammate Gavi in the last game.
But a bigger issue resides in the full-back department. While Dani Alves may have to continue at right-back, Xavi faces a major headache choosing a left-back due to the absence of Alba and Dest. As things stand, Oscar Mingueza remains the favourite to occupy that role, but it won’t be surprising to see Alejandro Balde getting a run in.
Xavi confirmed Balde’s participation against Getafe in his pre-match press conference, stating, “Balde will probably have a few minutes tomorrow. We count on him and he can be an important player on the team. It applies to all players.”
In midfield, Barcelona will be boosted by the return of Sergio Busquets from suspension. But they have now lost de Jong while Pedri remains sidelined. Hence, Xavi might have to persist with the 4-2-3-1 formation, as he is unlikely to give Riqui Puig a start.
Thanks to the new formation, the Barcelona head coach will have the privilege of starting four attackers. Ferran Torres could be the lucky one to retain his place in the starting eleven despite producing a series of underwhelming performances in recent weeks.
Ferran should operate on the left-hand side, with Ousmane Dembele starting on the opposite flank. Memphis Depay is expected to continue in the number ten role, just behind the main striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, although Xavi has the option of deploying Ansu Fati and Adama Traore later in the game.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Alves, Umtiti, Lenglet, Mingueza; Busquets, Gavi; Dembele, Depay, Ferran; Aubameyang