Predicted XI

Still no Messi - How Barcelona could line-up against Elche

Barcelona are seeking to win their third away match in succession in La Liga as they tackle struggling Elche on Sunday.

12:57pm on Saturday 23rd January 2021
Robin Bairner

Barcelona will complete the first half of their program for La Liga on Sunday, when they tackle Elche.

Ronald Koeman’s side approached the weekend third in the league, though 10 points off the pace of leaders Atletico Madrid, who have also played a game fewer.

Although Barca suffered defeat in the Supercopa final to Athletic Club and struggled to beat Cornella in the Copa del Rey in midweek, their league form has seen them start the year with successive wins over Huesca and Granada on the road. Now they will attempt to complete a hat-trick against struggling Elche.

While Koeman has several questions to answer in his squad, undoubtedly the most pressing of these is how to replace the suspended Lionel Messi.

With Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho also missing, Martin Braithwaite is set to lead the line in an attack that should also boast Ousmane Dembele, Pedri and the improving Antoine Griezmann.

There is a problem brewing at right-back, too. Sergi Roberto is in the squad but is a doubt, while Sergino Dest, who has filled in impressively, is in a similar position. As such, Oscar Mingueza, who is a centre-back by trade, could be forced to slot in.

Meanwhile, Ronald Araujo is set to continue in defence in the stead of Gerard Pique, who is injured. Samuel Umtiti will once again be on the bench.

Frenkie de Jong and Sergi Busquets will anchor the team in midfield.

Elche, who have won only three games all season, will be without a key player in the form of midfielder Fidel.

Barcelona predicted XI against Elche

Barcelona - Football tactics and formations

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