Xavi’s ‘anti Madrid’ plan

Xavi Hernández meditates making a battery of changes for the final this Sunday against Real Madrid. The most significant, as AS has learned, would be drawing: would go from the usual 4-3-3, with open ends, to a 4-4-2, with Pedri or Gavi as false wingers, repeating the system he used to beat Atlético de Madrid (0-1) at the Metropolitano a week ago. With the presence of four midfielders on the field, the coach ensures, in principle, greater control and possession of the ball, joining the lines more and less risk of losses, to avoid rapid transitions from the rival. The question, in this case, would be who would play as a false left winger, since although he used Pedri against Atlético, it cannot be ruled out that the one chosen for the final is Gavi, since the canary offers him more versatility in passing between the lines and in the continuity of play.

It must be remembered that at the BernabéuXavi came out with a very offensive eleven, with open ends, in this case Raphinha and Dembélé, but the play did not quite go well for him, suffering the only defeat in LaLiga (3-1) so far this season. After this bad experience, the coach could retouch the scoreboard in order to control the game more and dominate the game, a feeling that, since they returned from the World Cup, they have not had in any game.

But apart from the drawing change, there is another important factor that could end up having a great significance in the game. And it is that Xavi will resort to Ronald Araujo to stop the attacks of Vinicius junior. Thus, the Uruguayan international will be located at right-back, with Jules Koundé and Andreas Christensen being the center-back pair, and presumably Jordi Alba at left-back, although Alejandro Balde cannot be ruled out, who is in impressive form.

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In the midfield he would return Sergio Busquets, who was a substitute against Betis, while the presence of Frenkie de Jong is also expected, once he has recovered from the minor inconveniences that forced him to be replaced on Thursday.

In the same circumstances that the Dutch midfielder finds himself Ousmane Dembélé, who was changed due to discomfort, but his presence is not in danger for Sunday. The Frenchman will return to the right wing in order to supply Robert Lewandowski, the great reference in attack, with balls inside the area.

So that, those sacrificed regarding the semifinal against Betis will almost certainly be Sergi Roberto and Raphinhawhile Sergio Busquets and Christensen will return.

In principle, Ansu Fati will also have a relevant role in the finalalthough Xavi sees him more as a revulsion right now, so the intention is for him to intervene in the second part.

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