Barcelona predicted lineup vs Espanyol - La Liga

Grey Whitebloom
Xavi Hernandez's first match as Barcelona manager was against Espanyol
Xavi Hernandez's first match as Barcelona manager was against Espanyol / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Barcelona conclude 2022 with a Catalan derby against Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday lunchtime.

No club on the globe provided more World Cup players than Barcelona's dizzying 17. However, only two made it beyond the quarter-finals - both of which lost the showpiece while representing France.

Here's the internationally renowned XI Xavi may cobble together with the focus back on club football.

Barcelona predicted lineup vs Espanyol (4-3-3)

Pedro Gonzalez 'Pedri'
Pedri has completed more passes into the final third than any other Barcelona player this season / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen - "We will do everything possible to win all the titles," Ter Stegen recently pledged. With a league-high 11 clean sheets, the German is certainly doing his bit.

RB: Sergi Roberto - Barcelona's full-back can distract himself from getting ghosted by Lionel Messi with a start on Saturday.

CB: Jules Kounde - During France's World Cup victory over his club-mate Robert Lewandowski's Poland, play had to be stopped so that Kounde could remove his gold chain. "He can't play with sunglasses, a watch or a chain, it's not allowed," his manager Didier Deschamps helpfully clarified.

CB: Andreas Christensen - The painfully shy centre-back admits: "I’m not the most talkative person."

LB: Alejandro Balde - Barcelona spent two years stalling over a spot in their academy for Balde while he played in Espanyol's youth system. Now he finds himself on the other side of the Catalan divide at senior level.

CM: Pedri - Xavi has set Pedri the target of hitting double digits for goals and assists this season. With just three scored and zero created, Pedri has some work to do.

CM: Sergio Busquets - There may be whispers of the club urging Busquets to follow Gerard Pique into retirement but Pedri is certainly a fan. "Sometimes people don't see his work but, when he's not there, we notice it. I hope he stays a lot longer at Barcelona," the youngster pleaded.

CM: Gavi - The effervescent teenager was promised a senior contract, improved wages and the number six shirt which Xavi wore this January. However, Barcelona's financial ruin is threatening to put those plans on an indefinite pause.

RW: Raphinha - The Brazilian is keen to underscore the work ethic of his mother and father but can't lay claim to a life of luxury growing up. "Our house was so small that I had to share a bedroom with my parents and my younger brother - and the dogs and the cats!"

ST: Ansu Fati - In the absence of the suspended Lewandowski, Xavi could field a player averaging a goal or assist every 78 minutes through the middle.

LW: Ousmane Dembele - More than five years on from his La Liga debut, Dembele is up against the same opponents from that cameo appearance - in which he created a goal.