How Barcelona could line up against Elche

How Barcelona could line up against Elche

Barcelona will endeavour to return to winning ways in La Liga when they welcome relegation candidates Elche to Camp Nou for Wednesday evening’s showdown.

For the second time this season, La Blaugrana could not get the better of Cadiz as the newly-promoted side held them to a 1-1 draw at the weekend, with Lionel Messi’s penalty cancelled out by Alex Fernandez’s own spot kick.

Manager Ronald Koeman claimed that Sunday’s draw was more disappointing than their midweek humiliation at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, and third-placed Barca find themselves eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid in the race for glory.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how Barcelona could line up for the visit of Elche.

How Barcelona could line up against Elche

Out: Ronald Araujo (ankle), Philippe Coutinho (knee), Sergi Roberto (muscle), Ansu Fati (knee)

Click here for Barcelona’s latest injury and suspension news ahead of this match

With a trip to fourth-placed Sevilla to come at the weekend, Koeman is expected to shuffle the pack to keep his squad fresh, especially after two disheartening results on the domestic and continental stage.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s spot in goal is safe, but Sergino Dest – who has only made a recent return from injury – could be displaced at right-back by Oscar Mingueza, while Junior Firpo will hope to force his way in over Jordi Alba.

Clement Lenglet has struggled to win over the Blaugrana faithful this season and gave away the penalty for Cadiz’s equaliser at the weekend, so his spot is certainly at risk. Samuel Umtiti is not exactly a fan favourite either, but he could come in to partner Gerard Pique with Ronald Araujo nursing a sprained ankle.

Miralem Pjanic has voiced his frustrations over a lack of game time at Camp Nou but could be in line for a start here if Sergio Busquets is granted a rest, while the duo of Pedri and Frenkie de Jong – the former of whom continues to impress at the tender age of 18 – should remain untouched.

Trincao has found himself back among the substitutes despite goals against Real Betis and Alaves this month, but the 21-year-old will hope to demote Ousmane Dembele to the bench for this one, while Antoine Griezmann’s spot on the left should be safe despite pressure from Martin Braithwaite.

Lionel Messi turned out in La Liga for the 506th time for Barcelona against Cadiz – surpassing the previous club record set by Xavi – but it was not an occasion to remember for the wantaway Argentine. However, the 33-year-old will aim to find the back of the net for the fifth La Liga game in a row against Elche

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