FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez will make at least three big changes to his starting line up that faces Celta Vigo in La Liga at the Montjuic Stadium on Saturday.
The manager is on a high after renewing his contract before the weekend, as officially announced by the club of his life.
Furthermore, with two back-to-back 5-0 wins against Real Betis domestically and Royal Antwerp on the continent, he feels that he is currently overseeing the “highest level” version of the Blaugrana since taking over the reins from Ronald Koeman in 2021.
“We arrived at a very difficult time, with very difficult sporting, economic and psychological circumstances,” Xavi reflected at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“We have worked very well from the presidency to the sports direction [department]. It is a process of construction and training, but we are competing and playing good games.”
Though the 43-year-old is right in saying this, and noting that it has been a united effort across the club to get Barca back to winning ways in terms of silverware, an upturn in fortunes as of late is also largely down to the loan arrivals of Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo.
Unsurprisingly, the Portuguese duo will start against visiting Celta Vigo on the left wing and at right back respectively.
Across the front line, Felix partners Robert Lewandowski while youngster Lamine Yamal gets the nod on the opposite flank.
The 16-year-old started three Barca games in a row after Raphinha was suspended, and Xavi has rotated his right wingers with Ferran Torres and the Brazilian starting the last two outings.
Back in midfield, an Oriol Romeu benched in the Champions League returns to the pivot position.
With Frenkie de Jong given a well-earned rest, the ex-Girona man and La Masia graduate provides support to a blossoming attacking midfield partnership between Ilkay Gundogan and Gavi, which is making fans and pundits almost forget about the injured Pedri.
In defense, Marcos Alonso starts ahead of a recently-renewed Alejandro Balde while Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde form a central defensive partnership with Cancelo to their right.
In goal, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen seeks his third straight clean sheet in all competitions.
FC Barcelona Starting XI Vs. Celta Vigo: Ter Stegen; Alonso, Christensen, Kounde, Cancelo; Romeu, Gavi, Gundogan; Felix, Lewandowski, Lamine Yamal