The key question for manager Xavi Hernandez to solve is at right-back. Potential options Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde and Hector Bellerin are all injured. The only other natural option there is Sergi Roberto, who has been struggling with injury. The Catalan missed most of last season following surgery and despite looking good in the minutes he has played, a muscle problem has kept him out of the last few weeks.
Even beyond injury issues, Roberto has often drawn criticism online for his performances, with many denigrating his contribution to the side.
Ahead of the Inter match, Xavi Hernandez was asked what he brought to the team. Marca carried his words.
“For me, he is a guarantee. I had it clear that he is very important for us. He is the perfect joker.”
“For me he is a guarantee that gives me a lot of confidence. I think that he is a player that us managers value a lot. He’s quiet, works, suffers and always makes the grade.”
Against Real Mallorca at the weekend, it was young left-back Alejandro Balde who filled in at right-back before Roberto came on. Both Sport and Mundo Deportivo believe that Roberto will start as a right wingback, with Xavi going for a back three.