This afternoon at 4:15pm local time, we’ll be facing a very difficult opponent away from home in La Liga. In yet another vital game, it is the Catalan Derby – Barça against Girona. Xavi confirmed in yesterday’s press conference that there will be rotations. Obviously Barça won’t be able to fully rotate because Girona aren’t a team to under estimate. But at the same time, with the amount of huge games coming up for us, its vital we keep the squad fresh and match fit.
Today’s game also not only marks the final game for Lewandowski and Ferran’s suspension. But if Pedri plays any part vs Girona, it will be his 100th appearance for Barça. Which is an incredible achievement for the young magician. The most important thing however, is to secure a positive result. And we’ll be hoping to do that later on today.
A quick look at our opponents:
Girona are going to provide a very tough test for us. They’re a very good team and play some very attractive football too. They’ve already picked up some very impressive results so far this season. Beating Sevilla, Bilbao and drawing away at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid. Their most recent result came against Villarreal, where a last minute penalty from Parejo won the game for the yellow submarine 1-0.
Girona are comfortably in the middle of the table. 10 points off the top 4 places. So for a newly promoted side, they’ve done an incredible job so far. When we’re looking at the statistics, in the last 5 games they’ve been able to pick up 2 draws 2 wins and 1 loss. Scoring 26 goals so far and conceding a similar number of 28.
It’s going to be a tricky game for us, and we are going to have to ensure that we are clinical with any chances we create. A positive result is the most important thing. And it’s going to be another test for this exciting team.
*Look closely on Arnau Martinez, who is one of the main candidates for our Right Back position. Yesteday, Xavi praised him in his press conference.
In terms of the lineup I think over the last few weeks, Xavi has discovered his best lineup. The lineup that he would pick in every single game if we didn’t have such a packed schedule. In an ideal world, every team would want to play relatively the same team every game. But with the amount of matches in a week now, its just physically impossible.
Rotations are needed and it also gives a good sense of completion in the teams which is what we’ve been desperate for, for a long time. Xavi confirmed yesterday that there will be rotations against Girona. So it’ll be interesting to see what he decides to do. We’ve got a game in midweek away at Real Betis, so there’ll be one eye on that game.
Obviously we’ll be without Lewandowski and Ferran for one more game, so the attack looks pretty easy to pick. Again, it all depends on if we. Go with a four man midfield or a three. But for today’s game, i think we’ll go back to the 4-3-3. Meaning that up top it’ll most likely be, Raphinha, Ansu and Dembele.
In midfield, I think Pedri will get a well earned rest. He did pick up a blow to the knee in midweek. And although it wasn’t an injury, he may be given a rest from the start today. Kessie is slowly improving on his performances, especially recently. So I would’nt be surprised to see him start. Although, Pablo Torre may be an option too. He definitely deserves more game time. Gavi and Frenkie will probably start alongside Kessie.
In defence, i think there will be at least one change. I’d keep Balde and Christensen in the lineup. But I would rest Kounde for this game from the start as he has played a lot of football since the return from the World Cup. Roberto would take his place at right back with Araujo at centre back.
My starting lineup:
Roberto- Araujo- Christensen- Balde
Frenkie- Kessie- Gavi
Raphinha- Ansu- Dembele
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