UD Barbastro Vs FC Barcelona Lineups

ud barbastro

UD Barbastro Vs FC Barcelona Lineups

UD Barbastro will take on Barcelona in the second leg of their Copa del Rey round-of-32 tie at the Municipal stadium. The match will be a big challenge for the home side, with the visiting team backed by a full house of supporters.

Xavi will likely ring the changes from the team that beat Las Palmas, but Hector Fort could get his first-team debut at right-back, while Vitor Roque is set to start up front.

Xavi’s line-up

Barbastro will be keen to build upon their impressive victory over Almeria in the previous round of this competition. They will be bolstered by the return of a number of players to their squad as they face Barcelona at the Estadio Olimpic Lluis Companys.

However, Xavi is likely to rest a few key members of his side. Jules Kounde is out, while Pedri and Raphinha are both doubtful for the match. This could see defender Hector Fort start alongside centre-back Inaki Pena in the back four.

The Catalan giants are also without midfielders Marcos Alonso and Gavi, who have both been ruled out of the game with injuries sustained in their league clash against Las Palmas. Portugal international Joao Cancelo picked up an MCL injury in that game and will not be available for selection here.

Despite the fact that both of these teams are playing in a lower division than the top flight of Spanish football, a win for either side will be hugely significant. The winner of the game will make a big statement about their chances of reaching the final of this competition.

Barcelona have won the last three meetings between these sides but their form this season has been patchy and it will be tough to beat a team who are unbeaten in their league campaign so far.

Xavi is expected to stick with his favoured 4-3-3 system but it is possible that he will make changes. The Spaniard has been boosted by the fitness of Joao Felix and it is likely that the loanee will start up front, ahead of Robert Lewandowski.

The attacking quartet will be completed by a deep-lying central midfielder and a false left-winger. This will allow a space for Joao Felix to stretch his legs and make runs into the box, although he may be forced to sit on the bench in the absence of Pedri and Raphinha.

The Catalan giants have a poor record in the Copa del Rey but this will be an excellent opportunity for them to show that they can compete with the very best. They will be eager to avoid a repeat of the 2-0 loss to Osasuna in the Supercopa de Espaa and a win over fourth-division side Barbastro will go a long way to improving their confidence.

Hector Fort starts at right-back

Hector Fort is one of Barcelona’s most exciting young players and he may well make his full debut for the Catalan giants in this game. The 17-year-old, who plays for Barcelona Atletic’s second team under Rafa Marquez, has made ten appearances this season and started in seven of them. But the defender has never started a Champions League match for Barcelona and this could be his chance to show he is ready to take the next step.

Xavi Hernandez is expected to rest several key members of his side for this game. However, he could still make changes to his starting line-up if he feels that some of his starters need a rest. The Spaniard will probably start with Inaki Pena in goal in place of Marc-Andre ter Stegen. And he may be tempted to use Jules Kounde and Hector Fort in the back line in place of Ronald Araujo and Joao Cancelo.

Fort arrived at La Masia in 2013/14 and has progressed through every Barca youth side since. He started out in the reserve team and then moved up to the senior squad. The defender, who is contracted until 2025, has impressed in his ten first-team appearances and has played mainly by the right-hand side. Nevertheless, he can also play as a centre-back and he has done that on occasion in recent years.

The Barcelona defenders have struggled at times this season, and he is a welcome addition to the defence. Hector has great judgement and defensive traits and he was excellent in Barca’s Copa del Rey win against Unionistas last month. He also has a strong presence in the air and his long range passing is superb.

Hector will likely start this game in a central defence alongside Barcelona’s other first-team defenders, and should be backed up by the likes of Fermin Lopez, Oriol Romeu and Andreas Christensen. The latter is a very good defensive midfielder who can also offer cover in the back line. His performances have not always been consistent, but he is an excellent alternative to the likes of Pedrio and Marcos Alonso.

Inaki Pena starts at left-back

Inaki Pena has been one of the revelations of Barcelona’s Copa del Rey defence, taking up the left-back spot after Hector Fort’s injury and impressing with his poise and defensive ability. He may not have the pace of a full-back, but his ability to read the game is a major asset. He was able to keep control of the ball well against Porto, and his pass to Joao Felix set up the latter’s goal.

Xavi has been wise to give opportunities to his youth players at the back and his team looked solid in the first half, even when they lost possession a little too easily at times. The Blaugrana were unable to make the most of several chances, though, and they will want to rectify that for the second leg.

The first half was high-octane, as both teams had plenty of chances to score. There was a handball claim for a penalty, a Robert Lewandowski effort from point blanc range and a fantastic save by Gazzaniga, among other chances. The goalless draw was the result of a lack of clinical finishing, but both sides were excellent in their pressing and tackling.

As for the second half, the two sides traded blows in a low-scoring affair. Barcelona had more possession but struggled to get the ball forward, allowing the home side to defend deep and prevent them from getting through. The Catalans were also guilty of some poor passing and a reliance on teenage defenders, as evidenced by their inability to keep the ball out of the hands of a pacy Granada attack, led by Myrto Uzuni.

Barca’s defence was a bit more resilient, with Inaki Pena making some important saves in the first half, and a couple more in the second. Nevertheless, the defending champions look short of options in the defensive midfield and a return to their old ways could be costly.

Vitor Roque starts

Roque is an intriguing option to bring in as he can function as a wide attacker or as a full-back. He’s a player who can add some fluidity and pace to Barcelona’s attack, as his goal against Almeria in the previous round shows.

The Brazilian arrived to the club with a high buyout clause, but he’s already shown that he can be worth that investment. His passing map suggests that he isn’t a volume passer, but he can link up the midfield and forward line well. His main means of threat is a take-on or dribble, or drawing fouls in dangerous areas which can help create shots for his team-mates.

He’s a decent shot-taker, too, with a good mix of power and finesse. However, he can often be a little reckless with his placement and does scuff some relatively easy one-v-ones, which is why his 8 big chances missed in 2023 is slightly alarming.

His strength and pace are also excellent for a right-back. He can use these attributes to run into open spaces on the right flank and exploit the space there. His low centre of gravity and dynamic movement help him to generate chaos and disbalance in the opposition’s defensive structure as he moves forward.

As a full-back, Roque can also drop deeper and act as an inverted left winger, linking up with Hector Fort in attack. He can even be used as a deep-lying striker, although this role doesn’t seem to suit his game too much.

Inaki Pena will start in goal for Barca, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen out injured. He’s joined by a number of youngsters, including Hector Fort and Lamine Yamal, as they make their first appearances for the Catalan giants in a competitive fixture.

Those youngsters will be hoping to impress Xavi and the rest of the squad in a game that will be seen as a huge chance to win a famous cup upset. After all, there’s no better way for a minor side to shock the world than by beating one of the best teams in Europe in the Copa del Rey.

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