When Barcelona and RCD Mallorca square off on Tuesday at Son Moix, they will be looking to maintain their lead in the La Liga rankings.
After defeating Celta Vigo 3-2 in a remontada match and Real Madrid losing to Atletico Madrid, Barça concluded matchweek six as league leaders with a one-point advantage over their bitter rivals.
Tomorrow night’s game against Javier Aguirre’s team would provide Xavi Hernandez and company the opportunity to temporarily widen their deficit to four points and put pressure on the capital city club.
However, the defending champions will be forced to do it without Pedri and Frenkie de Jong, two of their most important players. While the latter sustained an injury on Saturday and will be sidelined until November, the former is still a few weeks away from making a comeback.
Here is how Barcelona might line up when they play Mallorca tomorrow night after Xavi intimated that there might be some additional rotations in store.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen will once again man the goal against Mallorca after contributing significantly to Barcelona’s impressive start to the season.
Although Ronald Araujo, who returned from injury against Celta Vigo, is expected to start, there may be a few changes to the backline.
While Inigo Martinez might be set to make his first start for Barcelona, the Uruguayan international might replace Jules Kounde in the lineup. The person who would move would be Andreas Christensen.
waiting to make his debut. (Image courtesy of PAU BARRENA / AFP via Getty Images))
Sergi Roberto might replace Joao Cancelo, who could use a break, at either of the full-back positions. Alejandro Balde, who started on the bench at the weekend, should restore his rightful starting spot at left-back.
Frenkie de Jong and Pedri’s injuries leave Barça with little room to rotate in the midfield. Oriol Romeu will therefore serve as the pivot while Gavi and Ilkay Gundogan start as the two inner midfielders.
Robert Lewandowski has not received any rotation from Xavi thus far this season, and given that the Pole is starting to produce goals, it is unlikely that the manager will try to make any adjustments there.
Raphinha, meanwhile, might get a chance to play on the right side after having to make do with cameos in the previous few games.
Joao Felix has been in outstanding form lately, but with a crucial match against Sevilla later this weekend, Xavi might want to give him a break. Instead, it’s possible that Ferran Torres will start on the left side.
Lewandowski, Ferran, and Raphinha
Romeu, Gavi, and Gundogan
Balde, Inigo, Roberto, and Araujo
If Joao Felix is not in the starting lineup, he will undoubtedly join the team from the bench. Given his lack of midfield options, Xavi might also try out the young Fermin Lopez.
Another player who can be counted on to see action at Mallorca is Lamine Yamal. Jules Kounde or Andreas Christensen may also be called upon by the manager if Inigo Martinez is unable to play a whole game.