Barcelona possible starting lineup vs Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup 2023 final
Barcelona head coach Xavi looks set to implement a formation change for the Spanish Super Cup 2023 final against Real Madrid.
Barcelona and Real Madrid, as expected, made it through to the Spanish Super Cup final…but only just. Both required penalty shootouts to overcome Real Betis and Valencia respectively and neither could have had too much cause for complaint had they been eliminated at the semi-final stage in Saudi Arabia. But, as it is, we’re set for the first Clásico of 2023: a ‘SúperClásico’, no less.
You could probably count on one hand the number of times that Xavi hasn’t set up Barcelona in his favoured 4-3-3 system since taking charge at Camp Nou in November 2021 but AS has learned that he is considering a shift to a 4-4-2 to face Los Blancos on Sunday. A narrow midfield, with central midfielders Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, Pedri and Gavi making up the four, could take to the field in an attempt to dictate possession against Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and co. La Azulgrana deployed a similar tactic in their recent LaLiga game away to Atlético Madrid, which they won by a goal to nil but could quite easily have dropped points in.
Lessons learned from Barcelona’s Clásico defeat to Real Madrid in LaLiga
The potential switch could well be viewed as a lesson learned by Xavi following the fairly convincing 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the first Clásico of the season at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu back in October. Barça deployed their ‘usual’ attacking 4-3-3 formation in that one, with Raphinha and Ousmane Dembélé hugging the touchline in attack, but lost the fight to control possession in midfield. Lining up with four central midfielders would be a move by Xavi to combat that.
In defence, Ronald Araújo has hugely impressed since returning from injury after the World Cup break and has been earmarked for a special role in El Clásico. The Uruguayan is set to line-up at right-back in a move designed to shackle Vinícius Júnior, who is viewed by Barça as Real Madrid’s main threat. That will see Jules Koundé move infield to partner Andreas Christensen in central defence; the reshuffle means the Dane will replace Sergi Roberto in the starting line-up.
Busquets didn’t feature from the start in the semi-final but will come into the side at Raphina’s expense and is expected to be joined in midfield by De Jong despite the Dutchman being forced off against Betis just after the hour-mark because of a minor knock. Dembélé is in exactly the same boat but has also fully recovered from his fitness issues and should play from the right alongside Robert Lewandowski is what looks to be a slightly lop-sided attack.
Possible Barcelona starting lineup vs Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup 2023 final:
Ter Stegen; Araujo, Koundé, Christensen, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri, Gavi; Dembélé, Lewandowski.