The youngster is back from injury but will not start at the Santiago Bernabeu
Ansu Fati received a blow to his knee at Old Trafford in the Europa League clash and because of that bruise he missed the league game against Almeria and was unable to train with the squad until yesterday in preparation for the crucial game against Real Madrid in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final at the Bernabeu. But Barça's No 10 will be ready for the 'battle' in Madrid. Xavi will have him on the bench to act as a game-changer in case he needs to change the script of the match at some point. Lewandowski's role in the centre of attack will be taken by Ferran Torres, who already knows what it's like to score at the Bernabeu. In recent matches, the Blaugrana have found it difficult to generate clear goal scoring chances.
After two consecutive defeats, Xavi's side need to react immediately and there is no better scenario than in a Clasico which, without being decisive because there is the return leg at the Spotify Camp Nou, could be important. With injuries to Lewandowski, Pedri and Dembele, the coach will stick with four midfielders, with Gavi moved to the left and Busquets and De Jong as the undisputed midfielders. The final place in midfield is a battle between Sergi Roberto and Kessie, who has been important in recent games.
Xavi will pick his standard defence to try to try and keep a clean sheet at the Bernabeu. Although Andreas Christensen only trained for fifteen minutes yesterday due to minor ankle discomfort, he is not expected to miss the game against their eternal rival. The Dane is a key player due to his ability on the ball and his strength in the air. If Xavi decides to reserve him, which is unlikely, Eric could be kept in the side in his place or Marcos Alonso could be used again.
As always when they face Real Madrid, this time Araujo will be the centre-back who will move to the wing to stop Vinicius and Kounde will play where he likes best, in the defensive axis.
The last time FC Barcelona faced Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey was in the 2019 semi-finals. Barca prevailed in that tie after a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou in the Bernabeu. Barca, coached by Ernesto Valverde, ran out 3-0 winners at Madrid with a Luis Suarez brace and an own goal from Raphael Varane, now at Manchester United. Of that team, there are only five survivors left in the current Barça squad but only four could be in with a chance of playing. They are Ter Stegen, Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba. Dembele was also in that squad but he is still not 100 per cent recovered from injury and is out for today's game.
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