With FC Barcelona poised to take on RCD Mallorca at the Iberostar Stadium away from home, Xavi and his men will come out guns blazing to ensure all three points return to Catalonia. However, given that Mallorca will prove to be a rigid opponent, Xavi will need to be extra cautious.
With the 20-man squad list already having been released, it appears that Xavi will be going for a few rotations in his starting XI as was made clear during his pre-match press conference. Likely absentees from the XI against Mallorca will include Jules Kounde and Ferran Torres.
Here is how FC Barcelona could line up against RCD Mallorca.
Goalkeeper: Marc Andre Ter Stegen
The German goalkeeper remains Barcelona’s last line of defense and the Catalans could not be happier with him. A great shot-stopper and always composed under pressure, the Barcelona captain remains one of the fundamental pillars of this team.
Right-back: Joao Cancelo
Arguably the hero of the ‘remontada’ against Celta Vigo, Joao Cancelo is loving life at Barcelona. A game-winning goal and an assist in his last game showcased exactly why Cancelo’s arrival has transformed this Barcelona team into a much more dangerous unit than it could possibly have been before.
Centre-back: Andreas Christensen
With Jules Kounde set to rest as per multiple reports, it could end up being a Danish and Spanish partnership in defense. Christensen remains one of the most consistent performers under Xavi and by now his free transfer from Chelsea last summer almost seems too good to be true.
Center-back: Inigo Martinez
With Xavi Hernandez explicitly mentioning Inigo Martinez by name during his press conference, it seems to be almost taken for granted that the Spaniard will feature against Mallorca.
Thus far, he has not had many opportunities to feature but the game against Mallorca should be a good enough test to see where he currently stands within the team.
Left-back: Alejandro Balde
The electrifying fullback remains the first-choice left-back in this Barcelona side for a reason. Rested initially against Celta Vigo, the situation of the game later prompted Xavi Hernandez to call upon him once more. With Balde not having started the last game, it seems probable that Xavi will count on him from the get-go this time around.
CDM: Oriol Romeu
Making two defining tackles against Celta Vigo that arguably saved Barcelona from conceding twice more, Romeu remains the primary spine of the team. His contributions to this Barcelona team may not exactly pop out or be too flashy, but his essence is integral in ensuring Barca perform as well as they do when in possession of the ball as well as without it.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan
Experienced, talented, and responsible, Ilkay Gundogan embodies what a veteran midfielder should be like. With Xavi already in awe of the qualities he has displayed at Barcelona, it seems almost certain that the German midfielder will play a pivotal role this season moving forward.
The injury of Pedri is now coupled with one that was inflicted upon Frenkie De Jong. With two key midfielders already sidelined, Xavi is left with little room to experiment within the heart of the team and will possibly rely on Gavi to fill in that void just as he did to replace De Jong against Celta.
With rotations set to take place this time around, a clear arrival within the starting eleven seems to be that of Raphinha. The Brazilian winger has patiently waited for his chance to feature for the Blaugranes prominently again, and it seems that Mallorca may just be the opponent against whom he gets that chance.
Centre-forward: Robert Lewandowski
The Polish striker seems to have finally found his groove again and is now scoring for fun as per his legendary reputation. Scoring two late, yet crucial, goals against Celta Vigo, the 35-year-old is currently in red-hot form.
Left-winger: Joao Felix
While still only on loan from Atletico Madrid, Joao Felix has won the hearts of Barcelona fans everywhere. His versatility across the offensive line as well as his ability to fill and pick out spaces has been key for the Catalans since his arrival at the club.