Predicted XI

Possible Messi return? How Barcelona could line-up against Athletic Bilbao

The Barcelona magician missed the Spanish Super Cup semi final win over Real Sociedad with a hamstring injury, but could make the final

 
2:43pm on Saturday 16th January 2021
By
Emmet Gates

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is expected to retain a strong starting XI for the clash against Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Spanish Super Cup.

Barca saw off Real Sociedad on penalties, and have high hopes of winning their first piece of silverware this season.

Lionel Messi missed out on the game against Sociedad due to a hamstring injury, but the Argentine could return to the starting line-up for the final.

Koeman is likely to stick with the same defence, with the exception at right-back. Sergino Dest is likely to come in for Oscar Mingueza.

Otherwise, Jordi Alba, Ronald Araujo and Clement Lenglet are all expected to start for the Catalan side.

In midfield, Koeman is expected to stick with a two-man pivot, consisting of Sergio Busquets and Frankie De Jong.

Ahead of those two, Koeman is expected to retain Pedri and Ousmane Dembele in the attacking trio positions.

Martin Braithwaite, who started in the semi final, will likely be the one to miss out should Messi make a return to the starting XI.

Should Messi start, Antoine Griezmann, who started as the main striker in the clash against Sociedad, will shift to the third attacking position, granting Messi the sole role up top.

How Barcelona could line-up against Athletic Bilbao

Barcelona - Football tactics and formations

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