Predicted XI: Xavi Hernandez considering back three to tackle Barcelona injuries

Barcelona return to action from the international break considerably weaker on paper, raising a number of questions for Xavi Hernandez.

They take on Javier Aguirre’s Real Mallorca, who no doubt have been working tirelessly over the break to ensure that they give Barcelona a hard time, as they did Real Madrid for 75 minutes. Only striker Tino Kadewere and Dominik Greif, their back-up goalkeeper are missing.

Meanwhile Hector Bellerin, Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay are all absent for the match. Sergi Roberto has been recovering from an Achilles problem and will be a last-minute call for Xavi. As a potential replacement at right-back, youngster Marc Casado has been called into the squad and could make his senior debut. A midfielder by trade, it would be an unfamiliar role for him.

Sport believe that in order to combat these issues, Xavi will line up all three of his available central defenders in a back three.

Balde would take the left side and Gavi the right, while they also see a start for Ansu Fati up front. It would be just a second for the Spanish international this season.

Marca are of the opinion that Xavi will stick with a back four and instead play Marcos Alonso on the right side instead. They also have Ousmane Dembele starting ahead of Raphinha, but otherwise predict the same starting team.

There is little difference in their predicted team for Mallorca, both believing that Aguirre will opt for five at the back. The main threats for Barcelona will be the attacking duo of Vedat Muriqi and Kang-In Lee, who have linked up well this season.

Tags Barcelona La Liga Real Mallorca
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