·30 November 2023
·30 November 2023
Barcelona host Atletico Madrid on Sunday night hoping to pull away from their opponents in the in the La Liga table and move closer to Real Madrid and Girona at the top.
As reigning champions, any weekend Barca fail to record three points catches the eye. If they are to defend that title, Xavi's side need to be winning their home games against those who are trying to take it off them. Having already lost to Real Madrid at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys earlier this season, this is a big one for Xavi's side.
They are likely to be without Marc-Andre ter Stegen again thanks to his back injury that won't quite shift, while Gavi is out for the season. Apart from that, Xavi has plenty of options available as he chases victory over counterpart Diego Simeone.
Here's the starting lineup Xavi may choose when Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid this Sunday.
Inaki Pena is set to start again / David Ramos/GettyImages
GK: Inaki Pena - With Ter Stegen looking unlikely to return, Pena is set for his third game in a row as Barcelona's starting goalkeeper. It's great experience for the 24-year-old who may be able to impress a potential buyer for the summer.
RB: Joao Cancelo - The Portuguese defender was a real threat from the left against Porto and scored Barca's equaliser, but he should move back to the right here.
CB: Jules Kounde - One of the first names on the teamsheet now, Kounde will have a lot to deal with on Sunday as he tries to handle Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata.
CB: Ronald Araujo - The Uruguayan was at right-back against Porto but he could take Inigo Martinez's spot with his physicality needed in the middle against Atletico.
LB: Alejandro Balde - He played fewer than ten minutes against Porto so Balde is fresh and ready to make an impact down the left in La Liga this weekend.
CM: Pedri - His return from injury is even more important now given Gavi's absence. Pedri was spraying the ball around nicely against Porto and expect no different here.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan - Xavi could opt for the more defensive Oriol Romeu here, but Barca need all three points given they drew with Rayo Vallecano in their last league game so Gundogan could be the better option.
CM: Frenkie de Jong - Another player whose return has been very welcome, De Jong helps knit things together all over the pitch and his intelligence is invaluable.
RW: Raphinha - Many have lost patience with Raphinha this season as he fails to grab as many goals and assists as he perhaps should, but his general play suggests good things will come soon and Xavi has stood by him so far.
ST: Robert Lewandowski - There is no real other option for Xavi, but luckily Lewandowski is a great lead striker to have. He will want to be scoring more frequently than he has been, though.