Xavi prepares massive rotations in the Copa del Rey game against Ceuta
The coach will change almost the entire team that played in the Super Cup final. Araújo is set to stay in Barcelona but Lewandowski will travel.
Xavi Hernández will again choose to rotate his squad to face Ceuta in the Copa del Rey round of 16. In principle, the idea of the coach is to start with a totally different eleven from the one he put out on the pitch on Sunday in the Super Cup final. Several starting players will be spared the long trip to North Africa. In fact, Pedri could stay in Barcelona again, as he did for the previous cup tie against Intercity. The midfielder would be accompanied by Ronald Araújo, who will have a few days off after the display of strength and power (and fouling Vinicius) that he displayed in the Super Cup, with the handicap of coming from a significant adductor injury, which he was away from the pitch for three months.
The player who will be part of this occasion is the Polish forward Robert Lewandowski. His sanction of three games in LaLiga opens the doors for him not to lose match fitness. He has already played in the Super Cup, scoring two goals, and now it is his turn to win the Cup, although it is not clear if he will start as a starter or on the bench.
Xavi to name a surprise starting XI against Ceuta
Thus, Xavi will once again line up a totally unprecedented eleven, with Iñaki Peña between the sticks, a defense made up of Héctor Bellerín and Jordi Alba, with Eric Garcia and Marcos Alonso in between.
Sergi Roberto, who would wear the captain’s armband, could play as a defensive midfielder, almost certainly accompanied by Franck Kessié and Pablo Torre, while in attack, everything points to Raphinha and Ferran Torres starting on the wings. It is important to remember that the Spanish international will not be able to play in front of the Getafe nor Girona as he too is sanctioned after his tussle with Savic in the game against Atletico de Madrid.
Who will be Barcelona’s striker?
The big unknown lies in the centre forward position. At first glance, the option of Ansu Fati seems logical, who played an important role in the Super Cup semifinal against Betis, with a great goal included, although his presence in the final against Real was much more muted. The fact that he is guaranteed to start on Sunday against Getafe (given Lewandowski’s ban) opens the doors for the Polish striker to start from the beginning, but the truth is that Ansu currently holds the advantage.
The player who seems to continue his time on the bench is Memphis Depay, as the Dutch forward is on the verge of leaving to Atlético Madrid. Both the club and the sports director are moving land and sea to find a destination for the player. As things stand, Atlético de Madrid are the club that has shown the most interest, but Barcelona is not willing to give the play away, they have thrown the name of Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco into the ring, an option that has, so far, been non-negotiable for Simone’s side.
LaLiga Santander 2022/2023
*Data updated to date Jan 17th, 2023
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