Barcelona predicted lineup vs Real Madrid – Araujo key to Barca’s hopes in El Clasico

The stage is set for the latest edition of El Clasico. The Barcelona predicted lineup vs Real Madrid features many potential absentees though which will make this a tough task for the hosts.

The game kicks off at 16:15 local time on Saturday with just one point separating the two teams in La Liga. Barca are unbeaten so far this season with their title defence starting brightly but this will be by far their biggest examination yet.

Barcelona predicted lineup vs Real Madrid
Credit: PictureAlliance / Icon Sport

Barcelona predicted lineup vs Real Madrid

Barcelona vs Real Madrid La Liga team news

Barcelona were still missing the key quartet of Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde, Pedri and Frenkie de Jong as they saw off Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek. With that game less than 72 hours before this one, it’s hard to see any of those players being ready to start El Clasico after relatively lengthy absences.

Officially, Barca have not ruled out any of the four first team regulars though and they all trained on Friday in the buildup to this game. As a result, the only player who is definitely out is Sergi Roberto who would not have started in any case.

The other big selection call for Xavi is whether or not to stick with youngster Fermin Lopez who was excellent on Wednesday in the Champions League.

Barcelona predicted lineup

Ter Stegen, Balde, Christensen, Araujo, Cancelo, Gundogan, Romeu, Gavi, Fermin Lopez, Felix, Ferran

Gundogan in action on Wednesday in the UCL – Photo by Icon sport

Barcelona key players – Our top three

Ronald Araujo of Barcelona
Credit: Pressinphoto / Icon Sport

Ronald Araujo – Barca’s rock

There is little doubt that Barcelona have offered more in the final third this season but they have been more vulnerable defensively which is something Real Madrid will be hoping to exploit with Vinicius Junior leading the line and Jude Bellingham operating in a very advanced role.

Ronald Araujo is therefore going to be vital. The Barcelona centre-back brings pace and physicality to the backline. He has been restricted to just 2 league starts so far this term but is the man most likely to thwart Real Madrid’s attacks.

Joao Felix of FC Barcelona
Credit: Pressinphoto / Icon Sport

Joao Felix – Portuguese star to continue bright start?

This is a really big day for Joao Felix who is eager to prove he can do it in the very biggest games and not just ones where his team are comfortably in control. 

The Portuguese star has registered 3 goals and 3 assists in 10 competitive appearances for Barcelona so far, however he has never previously scored or assisted in La Liga against Real Madrid.

Depending on Xavi’s approach, Felix could be used off the left again here, or he may be moved into a central role should Barcelona effectively opt for an extra midfielder by playing Fermin Lopez or by taking a risk on Pedri or De Jong.

Joao Cancelo
Credit: Marca / Icon Sport

Joao Cancelo – A more disciplined role required

Joao Cancelo has been one of Barcelona’s biggest attacking threats but he’s also a potential liability in defence, such is the nature of his game and the risks that go with playing an attacking full-back.

This match will require a more disciplined display from Cancelo. The good news from Barca’s perspective is that Real Madrid are not particularly strong at left back with Ferland Mendy a potential starter who is not known for his attacking prowess, although they could go with Eduardo Camavinga in the role.

However Carlo Ancelotti could instruct Vinicius Junior to take up wider positions and target Cancelo at times in this game.

Will Robert Lewandowski play against Real Madrid?

Of the four big Barcelona injury doubts for El Clasico, Robert Lewandowski appears closest to being ready and most likely to play. 

24 days have passed since he limped off against Porto in the Champions League and we can expect the striker to play some part here. However, it’d be a big call from Xavi to throw him straight into the eleven so it’s more likely to be off the bench.

Barcelona predicted lineup vs Real Madrid – The Final Word

Barcelona’s significant selection worries have lowered expectations for the home team heading into this fixture and all eyes will be on their team sheet when it is finally revealed.

They won’t be backed by anywhere near as big a crowd in this fixture either given it’s at the Olympic Stadium rather than Camp Nou and privately at least, Xavi may be relatively content if he gets through El Clasico without losing the game.

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