It’s probably too early for Barcelona to panic, but the Copa del Rey could represent their best chance of winning something this season.
They’re currently operating with only three recognised forwards and performances are so inconsistent. Real Madrid only have a three point lead in the league, but Barca always look capable of dropping points.
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The Champions League could be beyond them as well when you consider the strength of opposition they need to overcome, so the Cup might be all they have. Real Madrid are currently losing to Real Sociedad so that could make it even more likely.
Quique Setien and his men have a huge test tonight with a trip to Bilbao. The Basque club have always done well against Barca at home, so a big performance is needed.
With that in mind, this the lineup that Setien has decided to put out tonight:
Our starting 1??1?? for tonight’s Copa del Rey KO match versus @Athletic_en!
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 6, 2020
It looks like the strongest team they could pick, but Ivan Rakitic has been struggling for form and confidence lately, and he’s almost become a scapegoat in recent weeks. The decision to leave Griezmann out also looks like a curious one, so it will be interesting to see what kind of system they line up in.
As a result, it was inevitable that the fans on Twitter would be furious about Rakitic’s inclusion:
Me when i see rakitic in the lineup pic.twitter.com/AJGSrDh4sz
— Setien’s Son (@SonOfSetien) February 6, 2020
WHY TF IS RAKITIC STILL PLAYING ANNOUNCE L ALREADY
— Mario (@Barcafootball10) February 6, 2020
They will press hard and playing rakitic isn’t good idea
this kind of games is for arthur wtf
— Club De Amigos in Mud? (@PrimeLionel_) February 6, 2020
Oh rakitic! I see this coach career been ruin by Rakitic ?
— Frankline John (@Williamsj432) February 6, 2020
— yas (@crfyass) February 6, 2020
— juan (@juanszgrx) February 6, 2020
Why is Griezmann not in the team ?
— Deelon Jembere (@DeelonJ) February 6, 2020
We all expect Barca to line up in a 433 formation so this does suggest that a change of shape is in order, or someone might end up playing out of position.
Sergi Roberto has shown his versatility in the past so he might be a candidate for a more advanced role, but the fans must be hoping Griezmann is simply being rested rather than dropped.