Barcelona boss Xavi would be taking over his second game in charge at Nou Camp after winning 1-0 thanks to Memphis Depay’s penalty against Espanyol at the weekend.
The new Barcelona boss has played down the injury concerns of three players ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League Group E match with Portuguese giant Benfica.
The former Barcelona midfield man began on a bright note in the narrow win against Espanyol in a match that saw Oscar Minguenza, Nico Gonzalez and Sergio Busquets all come off the field.
Minguenza and Busquets all suffered cramp and calf discomfort respectively but they should be fine for this encounter, although Gonzalez’s sprained ankle makes him a huge doubt.
With Ronald Araujo fit enough for a cameo outing against Espanyol, the South American star is a good replacement for Eric Garcia, along with Gerard Piqué in the Central defence.
Busquets could partner Gavi and Frenkie De Jong in midfield, that’s if he recovers in time from his calf problem, while Pedri is facing the possibility of being sidelined until 2022 due to injury.
Teenagers as Ilias Akhomachi, Ez Abde and Yusuf Demir all have a few minutes against Espanyol.
But Sergino Dest has returned to full training and could occupy the right-wing role since youngster Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele are absent.
And this could see Brazil’s playmaker Philippe Coutinho feature on the left while Memphis Depay leads the line after Xavi has denied reports that Sergio Aguero has opted to retire from football owing to his heart issues.
Barcelona’s predicted line-up against Benfica
Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Oscar Minguenza, Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo, Jordi Alba; Gavira Pablo, Sergio Busquets; Frenkie De Jong; Sergino Dest, Memphis Depay, Philippe Coutinho.