Barcelona’s lineup against Elche to start La Liga’s final run

The season’s final international break is over, and the European season begins its final stretch run with eight weeks of action that should be thrilling. In Spain, however, there is little doubt about who will win La Liga due to Barcelona’s crucial El Clásico victory over Real Madrid. It has put them in a pole position to win their first league title in four years.

The Blaugrana now have 12 games remaining to defend the 12-point lead they built in the first seven months of the season, with the first step towards the title being a trip to Alicante to face last-place Elche. The Catalans are the overwhelming favorites to win this one. Still, with a slew of crucial injuries and another massive Clásico with a trip to the Copa del Rey Final on the line just four days away, Xavi Hernández and his squad will be tested. Here is how we believe Barcelona will set up on Saturday.

Barcelona’s lineup against Elche to start La Liga’s final run

After the international break, Xavi will be without key defense and midfield players for at least the first two weeks of April and must find a way to manage a busy and difficult schedule. Andreas Christensen is out with a calf injury, and Ronald Araujo is unlikely to play due to a groin injury that won’t keep him out of El Clásico but will keep him out of this one out of prudence.

Jules Kounde avoided injury and will likely start at center-back. Pedri and Frenkie De Jong have hamstring injuries and will skip El Clásico. Roberto may play right-back on Saturday, leaving only three midfielders. Captain Sergio Busquets had a full international break for the first time since retiring from the national team, and he should be fit enough to play most of the minutes in what could be his final season at Camp Nou. Franck Kessie begins after his El Clásico heroics, and Gavi completes the midfield trio.

On Saturday, Ferran Torres will play on the right, Robert Lewandowski in the center, and Ansu Fati on the left due to Raphinha’s suspension and Ousmane Dembélé’s injury. Ansu’s father made some explosive remarks this week, and it would have been fascinating to see how Xavi would react with a fully fit squad, but injuries forced the coach to start the Prince despite the controversy surrounding his lack of minutes.

Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Kounde, Alonso, Alba; Kessie, Busquets, Gavi; Ferran, Lewandowski, Fati (4-3-3)

Barcelona's lineup against Elche to start La Liga's final run?

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