Araujo, de Jong start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could line up against Real Sociedad | OneFootball

Icon: Barca Universal

Barca Universal

·25 January 2023

Araujo, de Jong start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could line up against Real Sociedad

Article image:Araujo, de Jong start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could line up against Real Sociedad

Games continue to come hard and fast for Barcelona as they gear up to face off against Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey.

Coming off an 11-game unbeaten run, the Catalans are flying high. La Real, however, are no minnows, having won their last nine games and sitting in third place in La Liga. It is truly the battle of two of the most in-form sides in the country.

Xavi has the entire squad at his disposal for this clash, including Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres – both of whom are suspended for the game against Girona.

Andreas Christensen was substituted off against Getafe on the weekend at half-time but has made his way back in time for tonight’s game.

With the entire team available, this is how Barcelona could line up against Real Sociedad tonight.

Starters

Ideally, Inaki Pena would get the nod for cup games, but given the importance of this fixture, coupled with Sociedad’s form, we predict Xavi to rely on Marc-Andre ter Stegen for this encounter.

Andreas Christensen picked up a knock against Getafe, but will likely return to the starting lineup tonight. He will partner Ronald Araujo in central defence.

Article image:Araujo, de Jong start in a 4-3-3: How Barcelona could line up against Real Sociedad

Araujo-back. (Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)

Jules Kounde is predicted to start at right-back, and will help Barça overload the midfield in possession by inverting inside. Alejandro Balde, meanwhile, will likely get the responsibility to provide width from the left.

Sergio Busquets will retain his place as the defensive midfield, but will be joined by a fresh Frenkie de Jong. The Dutchman was rested against Getafe, but will sit in the heart of the midfield as a double pivot in possession.

Pedri scored the winner for Barcelona on the weekend, and should round off the midfield unit as the advanced midfielder.

Gavi, meanwhile, could be asked to man the attack on the left wing. The youngster put in a world-class shift against Real Madrid as a winger, and will help give Barcelona much more control with the ball.

After missing yet another game due to suspension in the league, Robert Lewandowski will return to action as the centre-forward tonight. He will likely be aided by none other than Ousmane Dembele, starting at right wing, while Raphinha and Ansu Fati start from the bench.

Substitutes

Raphinha and Ansu Fati will almost definitely be the first players off the bench, but the timing of their substitution could change depending on the context of the game.

Another player in contention to start, who will probably not, is Sergi Roberto. Xavi could rely on his services in the second half to bring more accessibility in midfield, even if he is used as a right-back.

Jordi Alba‘s importance cannot be understated. He adds a much-needed creative threat from the final third that Alejandro Balde lacks currently. Consequently, we can expect a few minutes for him later on in the game.

Not to forget Franck Kessie, who scored one and assisted two goals against AD Ceuta in the previous Copa del Rey game. The Ivorian’s physicality and third-man runs could be crucial against Sociedad’s disciplined mid-block.

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