How could Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman line up with a La Masia XI?

There were seven academy graduates on the pitch at one stage of the win over Levante

| sport

Jordi Carné

La Masia always delivers. Always. Barcelona's win over Levante showed that the academy is still alive and kicking, with Nico and Gavi the latest to step forward. In difficult times for the club financially, the Catalan club can't make big signings and they have had to turn to their youngsters again, players with Barça DNA.

On Sunday, nine players who have played for the club's academy teams featured at some point in the 3-0 win over Levante: Mingueza, Pique, Eric Garcia, Busquets, Nico González, Riqui Puig, Gavi, Ansu Fati and Ronald Araujo. At one moment in the second half, seven of them were on the pitch at one time and it reminded of the Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova era. Especially that moment in November 2012 when Barça had 11 La Masia graduates on the pitch, curiously against Levante as well: Valdés; Montoya, Piqué, Puyol, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Cesc; Pedro, Messi and Iniesta.

Could Ronald Koeman do the same? The reality is it's difficult at the moment because there are 'weaker' positions, but it's getting closer and he could field a competitive 4-3-3.

In goal would be Iñaki Peña, who is currently third choice behind Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Neto, with a back four, right to left, of Oscar Mingueza, Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo, and Jordi Alba.

Sergio Busquets, Nico Gonzalez and Riqui Puig would make a good midfield three, but the options aren't as clear in midfield. To make an XI, Sergi Roberto and Gavi would have to play as the wide forwards, bolstering the midfield in the process, with Ansu Fati as the forward through the middle.

Other options in and around the first team at the moment are: Eric Garcia, Alex Collado, Alejando Balde, Arnau Tenas, Arnau Comas, Mika Mármol, Jandro Orellana, Nils Mortimer and Ilias Akhomach.



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