BILBAO, SPAIN - JANUARY 06: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates with Antoine Griezmann and Jordi Alba of Barcelona after scoring his sides third goal during the La Liga Santander match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona at Estadio de San Mames on January 06, 2021 in Bilbao, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Barcelona will lock horns with Real Sociedad at the Nuevo Arcángel Stadium in Cordoba for the first Supercopa de Espana semi-final fixture. The two teams are placed in the top five of the Primera Division points table at the moment and will battle it out hard at the unfamiliar venue.

The Supercopa de Espana was scheduled to be held in Saudi Arabia as it did last season under the new competition format. However, the unprecedented global pandemic forced the authorities to shift the venue to Spain itself. The winner of the tie will advance to the final of the tournament and face the winner of the second semi-final between Atheltic Club and Real Madrid.

Interestingly, during the build-up to this competition and the draws, it was decided that the two giants in FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, cannot face each other in the semi-final phase of the competition.

Ronald Koeman would be fielding a full-strength line-up with the Supercup trophy up for grabs. However, the Dutchman would be missing the services of Gerard Pique, Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto and Ansu Fati, who are all nursing injuries at the sickbay. Here’s how Barcelona could take to the field on Wednesday evening –

Defence

Marc Andre Ter Stegen will take charge in goalkeeping with the magnitude of the fixture in mind. The German goalie has been impressive this season and has been one of the top performers for Ronald Koeman’s side. Sergino Dest will hold onto his place at the right-back spot following consistent performances down the right channel.

4-2-3-1 Barcelona predicted lineup vs Juventus (Barcelona players are celebrating in the photo)
Barcelona’s Spanish forward Ansu Fati (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring a second goal during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona against Villarreal CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 27, 2020. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

Ronald Koeman has included Ronald Araujo in the squad for this semi-final fixture and it is likely that the tall defender will get the nod for the tie ahead of Samuel Umtiti. Araujo will play alongside Clement Lenglet in defence. Despite a shaky and unstable start to the season, Lenglet seems to be settling in just right. It is hard to imagine a Barcelona back-line without Jordi Alba, and the Spaniard will certainly start against La Real on Wednesday evening.

Midfield

Frenkie de Jong will start for Barcelona in midfield as he has on several occasions this season. The Dutchman has seemingly found his free-flowing rhythm at Barcelona after spending more than 12 months at the Catalan capital. The experienced Sergio Busquets will retain his place in the starting eleven after an impressive outing against Granada. Pedri will complete the three-man midfield as it has been for a couple of fixtures now. Pedri has been a revelation this season. The teenager has grown in leaps and bounds and the link-up play between Messi and Pedri is an absolute spectacle to watch. Pedri seems destined to grace the Camp Nou pitch for several years to come with the rate at which he is progressing as a footballer.

Attack

Dembele will start out on the right-hand side with Lionel Messi and Griezmann playing with him across the front-line. Messi and Griezmann were in red hot form last weekend as Barcelona thrashed Granada 4-0. The duo got two goals each and did themselves and this Barcelona side a huge favour. The front-line will be looked up to for goals on Wednesday as the Cules would try to break down a well oiled and well-drilled Real Sociedad back-line. Griezmann seems to be getting a better understanding of things at Camp Nou and it looks like the Frenchman is now starting to show his true colours.

Predicted Line-Up