Barcelona will face Intercity in their annual David and Goliath Copa del Rey tie on Wednesday night, with heavy rotations expected from Xavi Hernandez. The game was moved to Hercules’ Estadio Jose Rico Perez in order to accommodate more fans, increasing the possible attendance from 2,500 to 29,500, so there could be a raucous atmosphere to welcome a line-up that is lacking in sharpness.
The Blaugrana manager gave away much of his team in his pre-match press conference, stating that Ronald Araujo would play for the first time since late September, after recovering from his tendon surgery.
He had also stated that he was keen to hold onto Memphis Depay amidst speculation over his future, telling the press that the Dutchman ‘will be important’. He is expected to start, which would also be his first game for Barcelona since September.
Goalkeeper Inaki Pena has been registered with the first-team and as a result, will eligible to give rest to Marc-Andre ter Stegen. It is also taken as a given that Pablo Torre will make just his second start since joining Barcelona.
Sport expect Frank Kessie to return to the team alongside Sergio Busquets in midfield.
MD expect the same strategy, only with Ansu Fati in the side ahead of Ousmane Dembele. Pedri and Robert Lewandowski have been left at home in an otherwise fully available squad.
Intercity have nine players who have come through Barcelona’s academy system at La Masia, perhaps the most notable of which are Xemi Fernandez and Guillem Jaime. The latter only left Barcelona this summer, after being used often at Barcelona Atletic.