Barcelona face Elche at Camp Nou this evening in a La Liga tie of paramount importance to the Catalan side. It’s fair to say that the Xavi era has gotten off to a rather inauspicious start, and they need to start winning games quickly and convincingly if they’re to prevent a bad season from becoming a catastrophic one.
Barcelona go into the game sitting eighth in La Liga, five points off Atletico Madrid and the top four and a whopping 18 behind league leaders Real Madrid. Elche are in 16th, just two points clear of Cadiz and the relegation zone. Elche are simultaneously the best opponents Barcelona could face and the worst. The best because they’re not very good. The worst because if Barcelona fail to beat them, it will be an absolute disaster.
Barcelona should set up in a 4-3-3, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen starting in goal behind a back four of Oscar Mingueza, Ronald Araujo, Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba. Sergio Busquets will anchor midfield with Nico and Frenkie de Jong either side of him. Ousmane Dembele will lead the line, flanked by Gavi and Ez Abde.