After a third straight Champions League group stage win against Dynamo Kyiv, Barcelona return to domestic action at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona host Real Betis in La Liga as they hope to pick up all three points in the Spanish top-flight for the first time in five outings. Ronald Koeman’s men have failed to win any of their last four league fixtures, losing twice in the process. Given that they’re 12th in the standings, Barca must start turning the screws or risk a mediocre finish.
Against a side that always proves to be a tough nut to crack, Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s return comes at a fine time. The German goalie started his first match in three months against Dynamo Kyiv and put in a solid display. He will once again make it into the eleven against Los Lobos, hoping to lead his side to a much-needed win.
Jordi Alba and Sergino Dest are expected to keep their places in the starting eleven, as will Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique. The defence has been subpar this season and the players need to step up against a side that is in the running for a Europa League spot already this season. Meanwhile, the fullbacks’ attacking prowess will come in handy against a low-block defence.
Neither of the preferred Barcelona midfielders were able to rest in the Champions League fixture midweek and will be reintegrated into the starting eleven on Saturday. Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets will start in a double pivot. The duo is very crucial in a 4-2-3-1 system as it must provide defensive shielding to the back four and attacking assistance to those ahead.
Pedri is once again likely to keep his place despite the great form shown by Ousmane Dembele on the right flank. Ansu Fati, who is Barca’s top scorer so far this season will play on the left-hand side and Lionel Messi will play the free-roaming attacker’s role. All eyes will be on the Argentine to score in his first league match since the opener versus Villarreal.
Antoine Griezmann scored his first goal of the season as he salvaged a point for Barcelona against Deportivo Alaves last weekend. The France international will start once again, hoping to build on his confidence and solitary goal of the season. Koeman’s lack of rotation makes almost every lineup easily predictable and this one was no different.
Do you think Real Betis will compound Barca’s misery or will the Catalans come up big this time around?