The Catalan giants has moved from lacking firepower upfront to having too much manpower at their disposal after the close of the January transfer window. FC Barcelona will be happy though with what they got despite the Dembele brouhaha.
Barca and Atletico Madrid aren’t really far off each each, coming in at 5th and 4th respectively and separated by just a single point. Although Atletico Madrid easily disposed of Koeman’s Barca side earlier in the season, Atletico will be facing a much changed Barcelona side with Adama Traore, Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang recently added to the side, and Xavi Hernandez at the helm of affairs.
Atletico Madrid has suffered their fair share of disaster this season, and will be left facing the Catalan side with less players than they had in the first leg of the fixture. Unlike them though, FC Barcelona have a fully studded attack which comprises of Ferran Torres, Aubameyang, Braithwaite, Adama Traore and Ousmanne Dembele. According to Xavi Hernandez, the French International will be allowed to feature for as long as Dembele is fit.
In the defense, Clement Lenglet recently suffered an injury and will be out for 5wks according to official reports. This means that Barca are left with Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo and Miguenza as the only fit centrebacks. Expect Araujo and Pique to start while Jordi Alba and Dani Alves will man the fullbacks.
In the middle of the pack, Pedri’s return means either of Frenkie de Jong or Gavi will start from the bench as Xavi is not likely to bench Busquets yet.
Ansu’s injury is the reason Barca went all out to get Adama Traore. However, I would expect Xavi to start Ferran Torres ahead of him while Aubameyang will slot in seamlessly into the center-forward role. Its still a doubt who will be starting at the right flank. Except Gavi is pushed to the position, Dembele is expected to be fielded.
Barca will be playing at home for the first time this 2022 in front of their own supporters and will surely be hoping to put on a show. With the recent additions, Xavi Hernandez is expected to go all out against the team from the capital and win all three points.
A win against Atletico Madrid will take Barca to 4th position and just a point away from Real Betis who are sitting pretty cool at 3rd in the La Liga table.