Predicted XI

De Jong and Pjanic back in midfield – How Barcelona could line up against Valladolid

Barcelona are chasing a fourth game without defeat and should welcome back some big names.

 
9:42am on Monday 21st December 2020
By
Nicholas Hughes

For the first time since the opening three rounds of the season, Barcelona enter a La Liga clash having not tasted defeat in their three previous fixtures.

A credible 2-2 draw against Valencia followed wins against Levante and Real Sociedad in the last week leaving them fifth in the table.

Ronald Koeman is likely to reinstall some of his star men when the Blaugrana travel to Valladolid on Tuesday night, including Clement Lenglet.

The Frenchman hasn’t started either of Barca’s last two fixtures, but should return at the heart of the defence to face a side currently in the relegation zone.

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Young defender Ronald Araujo scored his first La Liga goal in the draw with Valencia and should partner Lenglet in defence, with Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba also likely to keep their places in the full-back positions.

With this clash coming as the side’s fourth game in 10 days, rotation is likely through the middle of the pitch.

Frenkie de Jong was spared the first half at the weekend and will return to the side with slightly fresher legs, as will Miralem Pjanic.

The Bosnian has only started once since moving from Juventus in the summer, but after two substitute appearances in the last week he could return to the XI.

Further forward, young-gun Pedri has impressed throughout the season and could continue in a wide area, with Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi alongside.

Messi has scored twice in the past three games and is up to six goals for the season, while Griezmann is on a five-game barren run in all competitions.

With Atletico Madrid facing Sociedad and Real playing Granada this week, Barcelona could see this week as an opportunity to make up ground on the teams above them.

Despite all the difficulties off the field, a win here would have them finely poised to break into the top four approaching the new year.

Barcelona starting XI versus Valladolid

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