FC Barcelona

Predicted Barcelona lineup vs Unionistas

Barcelona will bid to bounce back from their Spanish Super Cup mauling when they resume Copa del Rey action away to Unionistas in Thursday’s last-16 encounter.

The Catalan giants were smashed 4-1 by bitter rivals Real Madrid in the Cup final in Riyadh, where a Vinicius Junior hat-trick and Rodrygo effort rendered Robert Lewandowski’s strike insignificant. Xavi Hernandez is under pressure following his side’s latest disappointment, although he will remain in charge of the club’s next game.

The Spanish tactician will expect a rousing response from his boys and aim to get past Unionistas into the next round of the Copa del Rey.

Barcelona Team News

Barcelona lost Raphinha to a hamstring injury in the first half of last week’s Spanish Super Cup semifinal against Osasuna, sidelining him for the next few weeks. He has joined Joao Cancelo, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Inigo Martinez, Marcos Alonso and Gavi on the treatment table.

Ronald Araujo was dismissed for a pair of bookable offences in Barcelona’s Super Cup final defeat to Real Madrid on Sunday, and the Uruguayan defender will serve a one-match suspension in Thursday’s tie.

Predicted Barcelona lineup vs Unionistas (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper

Barcelona will stick to the 4-3-3 formation against Unionistas, with Inaki Pena in goal. The young Spaniard will be raring to keep a clean sheet after conceding four goals against Real Madrid on Sunday.

Defence

Sergi Roberto could take up the right-back spot in the absence of Ronald Araujo, joining Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen and Alejandro Balde in the Barcelona defence.

Kounde will continue partnering Christensen in central defence, and after the duo were torn to shreds by Real Madrid, they will hope to put in an improved display against Unionistas. Meanwhile, Balde will keep his place at left-back.

Midfield

Pedri was taken off in the second half against Real Madrid with the view of keeping him fresh for the Copa del Rey away fixture. The Spaniard will most likely start the game alongside Frenkie de Jong and Ilkay Gundogan in the middle of the park. They will look to control the possession of the ball and dictate the pace of the game.

Oriol Romeu and Fermin Lopez could be brought off the bench to add more solidity to the Barcelona midfield.

Attack

Joao Felix came off the bench in the Super Cup final but may get the nod ahead of Ferran Torres to start in the Barcelona attack. Lamine Yamal is primed to take charge on the right flank in the injury absence of Raphinha.

Robert Lewandowski, whose first-half strike turned out to be the consolation goal for Xavi’s side against Real in the Super Cup final, will be leading the attack against Unionistas.

Rohan Sengupta

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