Barcelona will need to quickly put the Copa del Rey elimination in the rear view mirror when they take on Girona in a rare Monday night fixture.
With Real Madrid falling 3-2 to Villarreal on Saturday, the Catalan side has an opportunity to widen the gap and go 15 points clear of Madrid with a win.
"“For us, it was already an important game but after the Madrid loss we can move 15 points ahead with 30 to play for,” Xavi said in his pre-match press conference.“We have a great opportunity. We can’t fail. We want to be champions and it would give us a very important margin. There are 10 games to go. It will be a difficult game against Girona. They know what to do with the ball and without it they are a very compact and solid team. It will cost us for sure, but we are motivated.”Source: Sport"
Xavi has called up the same players as he did midweek against Real Madrid, featuring a handful of players from the youth team.
Xavi may opt to go back to the traditional 4-3-3 as a way to get Robert Lewandowski’s season going again. The Polish striker has come under fire recently as he finds himself in a bit of a scoring drought. Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres are expected to start with the idea of providing more service to Lewandowski.
The league is the only competition Barcelona is alive in and wrapping it up as soon as possible would allow them to give fringe players more playing time as well as some of the young players who have been called up but not featured.
Barcelona and Girona have already met once this season with Xavi’s side taking home a 1-0 victory. Though it did not come without its cost. Pedri scored the winner that day but it was also the game where Ousmane Dembélé picked up his injury, which he is yet to recover from.
As mentioned, Fati and Torres are slated to start, which gives them an opportunity to stake their claim as both players face an uncertain future with the club looking to upgrade in the attack. Both have struggled this season and the former is no longer seen as untouchable.
Expected Barcelona line-up:
Sergi Roberto – Araújo – Koundé – Balde
Kessié – Busquets – Gavi
Torres – Lewandowski – Ansu Fati