It’s our final game of the champions league group. And although unfortunately we wont be progressing to the next round. This game will serve as a good opportunity to rest a lot of the important players. And to let some of the fringe ones get an opportunity in the game. Admittedly, our campaign could’ve and probably should’ve went a lot better. But the most important thing is to put it behind us and move on.
The Europa league is still a decent competition. Especially this season where there will be a lot of strong teams in it. This in itself will serve as a positive for our young and improving team. Gaining experience is so important. And at the end of the day, is a competition that we are more than good enough to win. For tonight’s game however, it is pointless. Our fate is already sealed, same goes for Plzen. So both teams have nothing to fight for, apart from pride. We’ll be back next season hoping to put things right in the Champions League. But for now, lets just finish this seaons’ off in the best way possible. And try our best to give a good account of ourselves.
For this particular match preview, we’re going to jump straight into the lineup. There’s nothing to play for. So the most intriguing part of the game will be Xavi’s team selection. He admitted in yesterdays press conference that the aim is to let Iñaki Peña and Pablo Torre start. That in itself is exciting, especially when it comes with Torre. He’s also called up a few players from the B team, that includes Ilias Akhomach and Marc Casado. Who will all be looking to get a few minutes in the game.
In defence, its most likely gonna be a rare occasion where Ter Stegen gets a rest. With Peña coming in to replace him. Bellerin didn’t impress at all in his last game, so I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised to see Xavi start Casado at right back. Balde may get a rest too, giving Alba the chance to start. In central defence, the only natural centre back that is fit right now is Pique. He will obviously start. And Marcos Alonso will unfortunately have to fill in at left centre back. That’s the only scary part of the team. In midfield, Pablo Torre is expected to start alongside Gavi. Pedri will get a well deserved rest with either Frenkie De Jong or Kessie coming in. On this occasion, I think Xavi will opt for Kessie. He’s still adapting to the team, and the more game time he gets the better!
In attack, for the first time all season, Lewandowski is not in the squad. He’s been given the game off to rest. Ansu and Ferran Torres have to start this game. They’re an exciting duo together, and it would be amazing to see them start alongside each other. With Ferran most likely taking up the central role. Meaning that Ansu will be cutting in and out on the left, with Raphinha deservedly starting on the right. After a very impressive and vital cameo against Valencia, 3 days ago.
Casado- Pique- Alonso- Alba
Torre- Kessie- Gavi
Raphinha- Ferran- Ansu