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Barcelona predicted lineup vs Real Madrid

Xavi won’t be too concerned by Barcelona’s 5-3 defeat to Arsenal in Los Angeles on Wednesday night given their ill preparations in the build-up to the contest.

La Blaugrana’s summer tour of the States has so far been disrupted by illness, although the Barça boss did get through 23 players against the Gunners as he attempted to get the entirety of his squad up to speed. Ultimately, though, they looked a couple of yards behind an Arsenal side that are four games deep this summer.

Nevertheless, an improved and more cohesive performance is expected when they face up against familiar opposition in Texas on Saturday. That’s right, folks, we’re being treated to a summer Clasico and here’s how Xavi could line his Barcelona side up for it.

Raphinha, Ilkay Gundogan

Ilkay Gundogan (R) made his Barcelona debut on Wednesday night / Harry How/GettyImages

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – The German bounced back in some style last season and re-established himself as one of the world’s best goalkeepers. His status as Barcelona’s number one isn’t in doubt, and he’ll earn plenty of minutes this summer.

RB: Jules Kounde – The Frenchman was a doubt to play against Arsenal, but he ended up playing the second half at centre-back. With Sergino Dest struggling in LA, Kounde could return to right-back on Saturday.

CB: Ronald Araujo – Araujo’s often been used in a specialist function tasked with shutting down Vinicius Jr when these two sides meet, but Ancelotti’s change to a front two and midfield diamond means the Brazilian won’t exclusively be stationed wide left.

CB: Andreas Christensen – Fresh off an excellent season in Catalonia, Christensen should partner Araujo on Saturday with Inigo Martinez likely missing and Eric Garcia not up to standard.

LB: Alejandro Balde – Balde was set to miss most of pre-season with an ankle injury, but he recovered in time to play 45 minutes on Wednesday night. Xavi will be keen to use the dynamic full-back in Saturday’s Clasico.

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DM: Frenkie De Jong – Oriol Romeu could prove to be an astute signing, but the Spaniard looked off the pace against the Gunners and we may see De Jong deployed in a holding midfield function. The Dutchman could yet emerge as Sergio Busquets’ successor.

CM: Pedri – The joyous Spaniard is back in full cry after injuries disrupted his 2022/23 campaign.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan – The German is bound to play a key role for La Blaugrana during his stay, and he’ll likely earn plenty of minutes this summer to familiarise himself with new teammates and Xavi’s ideals.

RW: Raphinha – His deflected free-kick briefly gave Barça the lead over the Gunners. While Xavi has several options in this position, he’ll likely stick with Raphinha on Saturday and call upon Ousmane Dembele when necessary.

ST: Robert Lewandowski – The boss isn’t exactly spoilt for choice up top, so we should see Lewandowski start the upcoming Clasico.

LW: Gavi – We saw Gavi utilised wide left and drift infield to overload opponents in central areas last season. With Real deploying a midfield diamond, Barcelona will need an extra midfield body to assert some control in central areas.

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