Barcelona return from the international break looking to further strengthen their grip on the La Liga title race when they visit Elche on Saturday night.

Xavi’s side downed Clasico rivals Real Madrid before the break to take a 12-point lead in Spain’s top flight and that lead isnt expected to shrink this weekend.

Barça have a dominant record over Elche, their opponents this weekend who sit 20th and look destined for relegation.

Here’s the side the Catalan giants may deploy in Alicante.

Ansu Fati

Will Fati start against Elche? / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – Barcelona are on the cusp of breaking a European defence record that has stood for 54 years and goalkeeper Ter Stegen has been crucial to that resolve at the back.

RB: Sergi Roberto – Injury problems in central defence may mean Roberto has to fill a gap at right-back.

CB: Jules Kounde – Has been a regular feature at right-back but with Ronald Araujo expected to miss out and Andreas Christensen definitely absent, France international Kounde may be shuffled infield.

CB: Marcos Alonso – Marcos Alonso plays centre-back for Barcelona these days. He’s scored three goals while playing there this season, too.

LB: Alejandro Balde – Has nailed down Barça’s left-back spot this season and has managed assists in his last two games at club and international level.

CM: Franck Kessie – A 92nd-minute winner against Real Madrid was as good a way for Kessie to open his La Liga account and endear himself to Barça fans. A knock to Frenkie de Jong could see the Ivorian start here.


CM: Sergio Busquets – Still looks as languid as ever but continues to be a highly influential member of Barça’s midfield.

CM: Gavi – Has featured on the left wing more recently but injuries to De Jong and Pedri may see the young Spain international drop into midfield.

RW: Ferran Torres – With Ousmane Dembele injured and Raphinha suspended, this is a chance for Torres to make a case for a more regular starting spot.

ST: Robert Lewandowski – Doesn’t have his usual colleagues in attack, so a bit more responsibility may be placed on Lewandowski in Barça’s build-up play here.

LW: Ansu Fati – Is in a similar boat to Torres. His dad went on a furious rant over Ansu’s lack of game time as rumours over his future at Camp Nou continue to swirl.

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