How Ronaldo Koeman could line his Barcelona side up against Real Madrid in El Clasico


or a team in the kind of crisis Barcelona find themselves in, a major derby is not the most welcome of tasks.

While an understated win over Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League kept their European ambitions alive, it’s hard to imagine Ronald Koeman actively wanting Real Madrid to arrive at Camp Nou on Sunday. Indeed, El Clasico is one of the most iconic games in world football and so much hyperbole surrounds it, meaning the eyes of the world are on a Barca side who have looked creaky at best this season.

In a La Liga context, it’s not as if they’ve proven overly beatable, it’s just that there appears to be a distinct lack of invention going forward. That may well have been expected following the departure of Lionel Messi but three draws in their opening eight league games suggest Koeman has struggled to piece together a cohesive unit.

Sadly for the Barca boss, Pedri – who recently signed a new contract containing a €1bn buyout clause – is injured for the first meeting of the Spanish giants this season although the recent return of Ansu Fati will no doubt excite supporters. After 10 months out of action with a cruel knee injury, the 18-year-old will be looking to announce himself on the biggest stage.

Bacerlona starting XI: Ter-Stegen, Mingueza, Pique, Garcia, Alba, De Jong, Busquets, Gavi, Fati, Depay, Dest

Sunday October 24h 15:15pm BST.

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona

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