Barcelona face Athletic Club in the Copa Del Rey round of 16 clash on Thursday at the San Memes stadium. Being already 17 points behind their arch-rivals Real Madrid in the league, Barcelona will be looking to prioritize the domestic cup to win a trophy this season. A narrow defeat at the hands of Real Madrid last week in the Super Cup semi-final will urge the Catalan giants to come back strongly in this tie. Barcelona are the defending champions in the competition and anything other than a win will come as a shock to the Blaugranas.
4-3-3 Barcelona Predicted Lineup Vs Athletic Club
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen will start between the sticks for Barcelona and will be aiming to keep a rare cleansheet in order to help Barca qualify for the next round.
The defensive pair of Gerrard Pique and Ronald Araujo will start at the heart of the defence for Barcelona which has been leaking goals throughout this season. They will not be able to offer any space to the Athletic attackers as they have the ability to cause problems if given any indulgence. The likes of Eric Garcia, Moussa Wague and Sergi Roberto will be missing the tie with injury problems whereas Clement Lenglet and Oscar Mingueza will be on the bench to provide cover.
Dani Alves and Jordi Alba are expected to start at the right and left full-back respectively and will be having full freedom to go forward and create chances for the forwards.
Xavi is expected to start the likes of Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong and Pedri in the middle of the park. Pedri should start his first game in a while after coming in from a long term injury. Pablo Gavira will have to settle for the bench for this tie.
Busquets will look to control the tempo of the game with his passing while De Jong would like to be creative with his through balls along with Pedri. Nico Gonzalez will be on the bench and provide options to Xavi to bring on in the later stages of the game.
The front three of Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay and Ousmane Dembele is likely to start up front for the Blaugranas on Thursday. Ferran Torres is expected to be on the bench after starting his first game in the Barca colours last week against Real Madrid. Luuk De Jong will also be an option for Xavi to bring on in the 2nd half when in need of fresh legs.