Ansu Fati’s cameo was the highlight of Barcelona’s second-half performance against Real Sociedad, which got them back to winning ways. Near the hour mark, when the score was 1-1, the young player came on and scored one goal and set up two others in the team’s eventual 1-4 win.
Even though the Blaugranes won, that doesn’t mean they were good in any way.
Xavi chose to try out a 3-2-4-1 formation, with Ferran Torres playing in advanced midfield and Frenkie de Jong playing as a double pivot. Both players, along with Gavi and even Ousmane Dembele, were not very good for most of the game.
The back-three worked well for Barcelona on defence, but when they had the ball, they were toothless and couldn’t control the game. When players like Ansu Fati and Raphinha are warming up on the bench, it’s hard to go wrong.
Still, Xavi doesn’t have a lot of chances to show off like this this season. He got most of the players he asked for, as well as time, preseason, and a lot of support from the fans.
The next game is against Real Valladolid, so we don’t think the manager will try another tactic that doesn’t work. Barca Universal thinks that this is how the Catalans will line up on Sunday.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen is a must-have starter right off the bat. Right now, he might be one of only three people on the team. He has played well in the first two games and could have kept two clean sheets if de Jong hadn’t been so careless.
In more good news, Jules Kounde will finally play for Barcelona tomorrow. Xavi has pretty much made it official that he will play in La Liga. Camp Nou is the best place for him to start out.
He is likely to play in the middle of the defence with Ronald Araujo. Since the signing, fans at Camp Nou have been dreaming of this center-back partnership. Tomorrow, they might finally get to see it in action.
Last weekend, Alejandro Balde got to start instead of Jordi Alba. He helped Robert Lewandowski score the first goal. He is expected to keep his spot, especially since Alba started in the friendly against Manchester City.
Lastly, if the rumours are true, Sergio Roberto will start at right back as a reward for his great performance against City.
Sergio Busquets is likely to be back in the starting lineup tomorrow, which is not a big surprise. The last game showed how much he was missed, but with him back, things should go much more smoothly for Barca.
Even if you don’t count the mistake he made against Sociedad, de Jong played 84 minutes against Sociedad and 72 minutes against City. He will probably be on the bench for tomorrow’s game, with Franck Kessie starting in midfield in his place.
Gavi, too, probably won’t be on the field from the first whistle. This means that Pedri will, without a doubt, be the last piece of the midfield trident.
Let’s start with the obvious: Robert Lewandowski will almost certainly be the only striker for Barcelona in a 4-3-3 formation. His aid? Well, that’s kind of hard.
One might have thought that Xavi would put Fati on the left wing, but the manager told reporters before the game that the Spaniard is still not at 100%.
Still, the uncertain futures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Memphis Depay, along with Ferran Torres’ bad form in front of goal, mean that Fati is likely to start, at least for 45 minutes.
Ousmane Dembele is expected to keep his spot on the right. Raphinha played during the middle of the week, and he will continue to fill in for a while.
Fati · Lewandowski · Dembele Pedri · Busquets · Kessie Balde · Kounde · Araujo · Roberto ter Stegen
Substitutes: Picking up where we left off, Raphinha will probably come off the bench at some point in the second half to replace one of the wingers. His part in the Sociedad game was very important, but it’s hard to say how much.
De Jong will also be looking to build on the goal he scored against Manchester City in a friendly. He and Gavi will be two of the substitutes that Xavi will use to change the midfield.
At the back, Andreas Christensen has been solid since joining Barcelona. He might get a chance to play again even though he didn’t start, especially if Xavi wants to switch to a back-three formation.
On the other hand, Ferran Torres could be used to keep the attack’s tactical premise. As he keeps playing, he will get better as he gets more minutes under his belt.