The Spanish champions kick off their continental season at house
The much-anticipated begin of Barcelona’s European season is lastly upon us because the La Liga champions start their journey in 2023/24 Champions League with the group stage opener towards Belgian champions Royal Antwerp on the Montjuïc Olympic Stadium on Tuesday night time.
The Blaugrana come into this one after a memorable victory over Actual Betis, with a show for the ages and an all-around spectacle by the workforce as a complete in addition to a number of good particular person performances. It was actually breathtaking to observe, and it units the usual for what this workforce might obtain if wholesome and if Xavi Hernández continues to push the fitting buttons.
The Catalans will look to proceed the nice vibes with a win of their European opener towards an Antwerp aspect making their first-ever group stage look and trying to spoil Barça’s get together at house. Right here’s how we predict Xavi will line up his troops for Tuesday’s battle.
With the depth within the squad and the brief turnaround from Saturday night time, it will be pure to anticipate at the very least a few modifications to the aspect that beat Betis. However when a workforce performs that properly and the coach is ready to relaxation key gamers for a number of sudden further minutes, it’s not out of the query that Xavi picks an unchanged aspect for this one.
Even when there are any modifications, nonetheless, none of them are more likely to come on the again. João Cancelo wants enjoying time to proceed enhancing his health and match sharpness, and after his spectacular house debut there is no such thing as a motive to drop the Portugal worldwide for this one. Andreas Christensen was substituted early within the second half which suggests he’ll begin once more on Tuesday as Jules Kounde’s companion within the backline, with Alejandro Balde — who additionally went off sooner than standard on Saturday — staying at left-back.
Midfield and assault are the areas of the workforce almost certainly to vary if Xavi decides to freshen issues up, however the midfield trio of Gavi, Oriol Romeu and Frenkie de Jong was spectacular collectively and deserves one other run from the beginning. Ilkay Gündogan has already grow to be a key piece of this workforce and will simply return both in Gavi’s place or as a part of a midfield quartet, however the expectation is that Xavi sticks with the German on the bench for this one in favor of Saturday’s beginning group and a entrance three in assault.
João Félix not solely silenced doubters however gained fairly a number of followers together with his implausible efficiency towards Betis, and whereas the questions will stay about his potential to keep up such a excessive stage there is no such thing as a doubt that the 23-year-old has all of the expertise and potential to be an important a part of the workforce and maybe change Xavi’s plans about not utilizing a 4-3-3.
Félix deserves to start out on Tuesday, and Robert Lewandowski is now as much as 5 targets in his final 5 video games for membership and nation and appeared like himself once more with two actual attacking gamers alongside him. That needs to be the case once more towards Antwerp, and Ferran Torres additionally deserves to remain within the workforce after an incredible efficiency and a good looking free-kick aim towards Betis.
Raphinha scored off the bench and will use one other robust substitute cameo within the second half to proceed build up his confidence, and what a deal with it’s to have a expertise reminiscent of Lamine Yamal as one other high quality choice as a substitute of a 16-year-old savior.
Briefly: the vibes are immaculate proper now, so hold the workforce as it’s and alter it within the second half if/when the win is wrapped up. As Ted Lasso would say: hold it easy, smarty-pants.
Attainable XI: Ter Stegen; Cancelo, Kounde, Christensen, Balde; Gavi, Romeu, De Jong; Ferran, Lewandowski, Félix (4-3-3)
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