The two changes Xavi planned for Barcelona’s encounter with Bilbao


Revealed: The two changes Xavi has planned for Barcelona's encounter with Athletic Bilbao

An overview of Barcelona boss Xavi’s planned personnel changes for the club’s upcoming meeting with Athletic Bilbao was provided on Friday.

Bilbao Trial

The Blaugrana are of course set to sit out the next round of La Liga, thanks to their exploits in the Spanish Super Cup.

After traveling to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to be unceremoniously knocked out of the competition in the semi-finals by Clasico rivals Real Madrid, Xavi and co. were granted a week to rest by the Spanish powers in place.

In turn, Barca won’t return to the pitch until next Thursday.

Another cup outing awaits them, when the Catalan giants travel to San Mames, for a daunting Copa del Rey Last-16 showdown with Athletic Bilbao.

Revealed: The two changes Xavi has planned for Barcelona's encounter with Athletic Bilbao

Real Madrid players celebrate the score during the Spanish Super Cup semi-final soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the King Fahad International Stadium in the Saudi capital Riyadh on January 12, 2022. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE /AFP via Getty Images)

De Jong out/Pedri in

As mentioned above, despite his side not being ready to resume their campaign for a full six days, Xavi has already made up his mind to shake up his starting XI.

According to a report from Javi Miguel of Diario AS, the Blaugrana boss intends to drop Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele, who both started against Real, on the bench.

In their place, meanwhile, will come Pedri and Ansu Fati, whose introductions off the bench in Riyadh breathed life into Barca, and almost resulted in the Catalans forcing a penalty shootout.

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