FC Barcelona

Barcelona predicted lineup vs Espanyol - La Liga

Grey Whitebloom
Xavi Hernandez has overseen seven unbeaten league games for Barcelona
Xavi Hernandez has overseen seven unbeaten league games for Barcelona / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

Barcelona make the short trip to city rivals Espanyol for a Catalan derby in La Liga on Sunday night.

Xavi Hernandez made his coaching debut against the club's regional rivals with a 1-0 win back in November. Since the 42-year-old's appointment only Real Madrid have collected more La Liga points than Barcelona going into the weekend's fixtures.

Here's the lineup Xavi may deploy to extend their seven-game unbeaten run in La Liga.

Barcelona predicted lineup vs Espanyol - La Liga

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) - Kept one of his five clean sheets this season in the last meeting with Espanyol and will hope to repeat the feat.

Sergino Dest (RB) - With Dani Alves sidelined by suspension, Dest is poised for a run in the team he may not otherwise have expected.

Gerard Pique (CB) - One more outing would nudge Barcelona's future president ahead of the legendary Carles Puyol in the club's list of all-time appearance makers (593).

Ronald Araujo (CB) - In a damning indictment of the lack of goals within a squad shorn of Lionel Messi, Araujo is the team's second-top scorer in La Liga with three.

Jordi Alba (LB) - "If I play well, no one talks about me. If I have a normal game, I'm criticised for not setting up two goals. If I play badly, I am killed," Alba outlined last month in a revealing assessment of the feedback he perceives himself as receiving.

2. Midfielders

Frenkie de Jong (CM) - The Dutch international insists: "I am best when I get to the ball a lot.” But is recording the fewest touches of his Barcelona career, taking almost 20 fewer per game compared to last season.

Sergio Busquets (CM) - Barcelona's most frequent starter this term isn't poised to relinquish that status any time soon.

Pedri (CM) - After bearing the brunt of a breakthrough - but physically exhausting - 2020/21 campaign in which he made 52 club appearances before playing in the Euros and Olympics, Pedri could make a third consecutive league start for the first time this term.

3. Forwards

Adama Traore (RW) - After more than 25 hours of Premier League football without providing a goal for Wolves, Traore needed just 21 minutes back in a Barcelona shirt to tee up Gavi on his second debut.

Ferran Torres (ST) - Injury and upheaval have conspired to afford Torres just 11 appearances all season, but in seven different competitions.

Gavi (LW) - The squad's youngest player has already been hailed as a 'difference maker' by Xavi while still six months shy of turning 18.

You can read 90min's preview of Espanyol vs Barcelona here.