FC Barcelona Return To Four Man Midfield System For El Clasico Clash Versus Real Madrid

FC Barcelona will finally return to their four-man midfield system for Sunday’s La Liga meeting with Real Madrid in El Clasico.

Head coach Xavi Hernandez’s rejigging of the formation was expected last weekend for a trip to Athletic Club in Bilbao, where the Blaugrana won 1-0 thanks to a first half effort from Raphinha.

Instead, however, Xavi went for a 4-3-3 which allowed Ferran Torres to play on the left wing. In the Catalans’ last home fixture, Fati occupied this area of the pitch as Torres moved to the center to replace Robert Lewandowski as a striker.

With playmaker Pedri expected to make his comeback from a thigh knock which has kept him out for a month, however, it was presumed that Barca would finally go with the four-man midfield that proved a great success in the 3-1 Spanish Super Cup win over Los Blancos at the turn of 2023.

On Friday, though, Pedri reportedly left a training session with visible discomfort and Xavi used his pre-match press conference to explain that he and his staff do not want to rush the 20-year-old’s recovery.

“It was a bit early for Pedri, we knew that,” Xavi said. “There was a risk but he wanted to train yesterday.

“He did not feel 100 per cent ready. In this sort of game, if you are not at full capacity, you can’t play. It’s a pity but he does not have to force [anything]. It’s not a final. We don’t want to lose Pedri for two more months,” the manager added.

Even amid Pedri’s continued absence, however, it is still believed that Xavi will field four midfielders.

As in Riyadh, Gavi will operate as a ‘false’ left winger who provides cover for Alejandro Balde when his fellow La Masia graduate powers up their shared flank.

While Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets offer double pivot support, Franck Kessie will take up the attacking midfield responsibilities that are usually set aside for Pedri.

With a win in the world’s biggest derby, Barca can effectively wrap up the La Liga title given they would have a 12-point lead.

Regardless of the result, however, they will hope that Pedri can finally don his number ‘8’ shirt after the international break when a Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Real Madrid also at home awaits.

You May Also Like

In Approving The Willow Oil Project, Biden Chooses Reality Over Posturing

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 17: Climate activist hold a demonstration to urge…

The Ukrainian Army Is Probing Russian Lines In The South—And Suffering Heavy Losses

Ex-Dutch YPR-765s in Ukrainian service. Wikimedia Commons It’s no secret the Ukrainian…

Republicans Will Try To Repeal Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Before Supreme Court Rules

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 17: (L-R) U.S. President Joe Biden and Speaker…

McCarthy Says People Shouldn’t Protest Or Engage In Violence If Trump Is Indicted

Topline House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Sunday urged “calmness” in response…

China’s Xi Meets With Putin As Tensions With Washington Flare

Topline Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday…

OKC Thunder To Face Most Pivotal Road Trip Of Season

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA – MARCH 19: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma…

10 Numbers And Charts That Sum Up March’s Banking Fiasco

Topline The most chaotic two weeks in the banking sector since the…

Tyra Banks Says She’s Leaving ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Ballroom For ‘The Boardroom’

“Dancing With the Stars” host Tyra Banks says she’s ready to leave…