What team will Barcelona play against Girona?
What team will Barcelona play against Girona?

Barcelona had a big win over Atlético Madrid and then a week of training in beautiful Catalonia. On Sunday night, they host co-leaders Girona in a big Top 4 match at the Montjuïc Olympic Stadium.

Barça played one of their best games of the season against the Colchoneros and made a statement about their ability to protect the title. Now they get to play their Catalan rivals to get even closer to the top of the table as the season’s halfway point approaches.

But Girona says they’ll be tough and wants to show everyone that they’re real and that their beautiful, high-flying offence can score goals against anyone, even the powerful Barcelona away from home.

We think this is how Xavi Hernández will set up his troops for the battle on Sunday.

Defense

Iñaki Peña will be Barcelona’s starting goalkeeper for a while now that Marc-André ter Stegen had surgery on his back and will be out for a while. The young Spaniard has already shown that he can replace Ter Stegen at a high level, both stopping shots and passing the ball.

João Cancelo has been playing great left back lately and will probably keep that up for this game. That means that either Jules Kounde or Ronald Araujo will play right back, and Andreas Christensen will play centre back instead of the sick Iñigo Martínez.

As the season goes on, Alejandro Balde will likely return to a more normal full-back role. For now, though, the team seems to work better with him on the bench during big games.

Midfield

The three midfielders Frenkie de Jong, Ilkay Gündogan, and Pedri had to play very well against Atlético, and they did. They controlled the ball and the pace of play for almost the whole game. The three players work well together, and getting to know each other and getting along better will be important for Barcelona’s success the rest of the season without Gavi. They’ll have to play very well again to beat Girona, who also rules the middle of the pitch.

Attack

This season, it’s been hard for Xavi to find a stable front three. However, Raphinha and João Félix are playing great on the wings and should start again on Sunday. For now, Ferran Torres and Lamine Yamal have been put on the bench. When Vitor Roque comes in less than a month, they will have even more competition for spots.

But Roque’s coming is especially important to try to get Robert Lewandowski going again. He still can’t figure out where he fits in Barcelona’s offence and is clearly frustrated with himself and his teammates every game that he can’t play at a high level.

As long as his stats stay good, the player doesn’t seem to be able to figure himself or the team out. Roque might bring out the best in Lewy, but even though he’s having a rough patch right now, he is still the best scorer on the team and will lead the line again on Sunday.

Possible XI: Pedri, De Jong, Gündogan, Raphinha, Lewandowski, and Félix could be in Peña’s possible starting eleven (4-3-3)

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