BARCELONA

Braithwaite poised to start for Barcelona against Real Madrid

Barcelona coach Quique Setién seemed to give some clues regarding his starting line-up for the Clásico in Friday's training session.

Braithwaite poised to start for Barcelona against Real Madrid
GORKA LEIZA DIARIO AS

One of the big questions about Barcelona’s starting line-up for the Clásico at the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday has been regarding who will join Leo Messi and Antoine Griezmann in attack. And judging from the practice match at Barca’s training base this Friday, the chosen one is apparently Martin Braithwaite.

In the match that took place at the end of Friday’s session, the Danish striker played in an attacking trident alongside Griezmann and Messi. Evidently it was one of the many tests that coach Quique Setién performs on the training pitch but for many it was a declaration of intent, especially because he worked so closely with the Braithwaite – correcting his position and giving him direction. It seems the Setién wants to speed up his adaption, aware that he will be the player for the match at the Bernabéu.

Setién could copy Guardiola approach

It must be noted that Braithwaite is not a centre forward but a capable attacker who knows how to occupy spaces perfectly, as well as create them. Just as Pep Guardiola did at the Bernabéu against Real Madrid, where he did not deploy any centre forward, Setién could take a similar strategy with the presence of Braithwaite.

The Danish international, who is not eligible to play in the Champions League, put in a spectacular performance in his first game for Barcelona, the 5-0 win against Eibar last weekend. Cheered from the stands, he played his part in both of the last two goals: an assist for Messi and a shot on goal that Arthur took advantage of when the goalkeeper tried to clear.

If Braithwaite is finally confirmed to start, Barcelona’s other striker, Ansu Fati, would be named on the bench. Up to now the young attacker was one of the most used players by Setién. But following the match against Getafe on February 15, he has not been a starter for two consecutive games against Eibar and Napoli. And all indications are that the teenager will also be left out of the starting XI to face Real Madrid.