Barcelona aim to put Copa del Rey disappointment behind them on Sunday night when they travel to Alaves in La Liga.
Xavi’s men were put to the sword by Athletic Club – whom they beat in last year’s final – in midweek as they were dumped out of the cup courtesy of a thrilling 3-2 extra-time defeat. That followed a 1-1 draw with Granada in La Liga and a 3-2 loss to Real Madrid in the Supercopa, leaving La Blaugrana without a victory in their last three outings.
They’ll look to overcome a struggling Alaves side to get back on track. Here’s how the visitors could line up.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – No clean sheet in three appearances but, in truth, the blame for that lies predominantly elsewhere.
Dani Alves (RB) – Maybe lacking the physicality he once possessed, but there are still flashes of his marauding best in his performances.
Ronald Araujo (CB) – Wasn’t fantastic in Barcelona’s midweek cup exit but, with Eric Garcia still absent, will likely continue in central defence.
Gerard Pique (CB) – Put in a brilliantly stoic performance last time out and will inevitably be a leading voice from the back once more.
Jordi Alba (LB) – Absolutely dominated by Athletic Club on Thursday night, but should be able to reattain his usual level on Sunday.
Sergio Busquets (DM) – An absolute ever-present for La Blaugrana this term – apart from one suspension-enforced absence – and will skipper the side from the heart of midfield once again.
Pedri (CM) – Worked himself into the ground on Thursday and, after a typically bright performance, should be set for a second successive start since returning from injury.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – A player with De Jong’s undoubted star quality really should be affecting games more than he is at the moment.
Ferran Torres (RW) – Grabbed his first Barcelona goal in stunning fashion against Athletic Club, and will be hoping for more this weekend.
Luuk de Jong (ST) – Missed out on his side’s cup tie in midweek but, with a goal in each of his previous three outings, should be trusted in La Liga matters as Memphis Depay remains a doubt.
Ferran Jutgla (LW) – Ansu Fati was devastatingly forced off with an injury on Thursday and, as he’ll likely miss out again, it’s a toss-up for this left-wing spot.
You can read 90min’s preview of Alaves vs Barcelona here.