FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez is expected to make three big changes to his starting line up that will face RCD
The defending champions returned to the summit on Saturday following a spirited 3-2 comeback win over Celta Vigo at the Montjuic Stadium.
With Real Madrid losing the capital’s derby 3-1 against Atletico Madrid the following evening, the Blaugrana managed to keep pole position in the table.
They will strive to maintain it with a victory over their Balearic Island foes, who currently hover two spots above the relegation zone.
Given the amount of matches that Barca have in such a short space of time before the international break, with a home meeting against Sevilla on Friday followed by a trip to Porto in the Champions League Wednesday, Xavi has promised rotations.
“There will be an average of two or three rotations per game, to have them one hundred percent and prevent injuries,” he stated on Monday in his pre-match press conference.
In his starting XI for the task at hand, the recently-renewed coach has kept his word with Ronald Araujo and Raphinha the two biggest switches off the bat.
Up top, the Brazilian replaces Ferran Torres on the right wing joining Joao Felix and Robert Lewandowski across the front line.
Much further back, Araujo returns to the heart of defense to partner Andreas Christensen, with the duo flanked by Alejandro Balde and Joao Cancelo to their left and right.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen is the goalkeeper of course, and will look to put Saturday’s blip behind him where he conceded two goals on the break after previously having kept a pair of clean sheets.
In midfield, Frenkie de Jong leaving the pitch in the first half of the weekend win, and likely being ruled out for seven weeks to miss El Clasico, means that his substitute that day who provided the assist for Cancelo’s winner assumes his berth in the starting line up.
This is none other than the Golden Boy Gavi of course, who has stepped up in Pedri’s injured absence too. In the center of the park, he will operate alongside Ilkay Gundogan while they receive pivot support from Oriol Romeu.
FC Barcelona Starting XI Vs. RCD Mallorca: Ter Stegen; Balde, Christensen, Araujo, Cancelo; Romeu, Gavi, Gundogan; Felix, Lewandowski, Raphinha