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Memphis, Pique miss out – How Barcelona will line up against Elche

Xavi’s Barcelona problems continue to mount ahead of Barcelona’s weekend fixture against relegation-threatened Elche.

Barca, who were held to a draw by Osasuna in their previous La Liga fixture, are only five points off the top four in Spain as the halfway point of the season approaches.

Nevertheless, this is a club that expects to be challenging for titles and rivals Real Madrid are a massive 18 points clear of them, albeit having played a single fixture more.

On paper, a fixture against out-of-form Elche should be little more than a formality for Barca, but this season anything is possible for the Catalans.

Worse, they go into this game with severe selection headaches.

These are most acute in attack, where Memphis Depay is sidelined along with Martin Braithwaite and Ansu Fati. Of course, there was also the retirement of Sergio Aguero earlier this week due to heart issues.

Ousmane Dembele is not entirely certain to feature but the odds are that he will.

Yusuf Demir, meanwhile, is unlikely to feature due to ongoing uncertainty over his future, which may mean he does not play for Barca again.

Meanwhile, Pedri is still sidelined in the midfield.

The defence has issues, too. Jordi Alba is doubtful at left-back, while at right-back Sergi Roberto and Dani Alves both continue to miss out.

Suspension hit experienced central defender Gerard Pique, who is a rare old head in this incredibly young team.

The starting XI is likely to have a patchwork look to it.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen will keep goal, of course, with the defence likely to be composed of Sergino Dest and Alejandro Balde flanking Eric Garcia and Ronald Araujo.

Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets and Nico Gonzalez are set to be the midfield trio.

In attack, meanwhile, Dembele could find himself playing a centre-forward role. Abde Ezzalzouli and Gavi could flank the World Cup winner.

Barcelona predicted XI vs. Elche

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