The options to take Pedri's clásico spot: Kessie, Sergi Roberto, Ferran, Ansu...

The options to take Pedri's clásico spot: Kessie, Sergi Roberto, Ferran, Ansu...

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The midfielder will not be available despite promising signs earlier in the week

The signs for Xavi Hernández were promising during the week. Pedri's sensations were good and everything seemed to indicate that the FC Barcelona coach could finally count on the 'magician' of his midfield once again.

The midfielder was very excited about the possibility of helping his team in Sunday's crucial clásico, but in Friday's training session, he suffered a small setback and, applying maximum caution, will take a few more days before reappearing.

Had Pedri been medically cleared, Barça's line-up against Real Madrid would have been predictable: a return to the four midfielders, a reliable rearguard and, up front, Raphinha or Ferran Torres accompanying Robert Lewandowski.

The Canary Islander's absence for the clásico, however, has reignited the debate about the system: will Xavi still go for the four midfielders or, as he did at San Mames, will he stick with the two wingers?

Let's take a look at all the options available to the coach ahead of a huge game in the fight for the league title.

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With Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Gavi and Robert Lewandowski fixed in the XI, there are only two places to be shared between five candidates: two midfielders and three attackers. Sergi Roberto, Franck Kessie, Ferran Torres, Raphinha and Ansu Fati, all very different profiles, have a chance of being in the starting line-up.

From here, it will depend on the type of game Barça want to play. Xavi could reinforce the midfield with Roberto or Kessie and start with just one attacking partner for Lewandowski; or, on the other hand, strengthen the figure of the Pole with two pure wingers.

Either way, the reality is that Xavi is once again facing a decisive game without two key members of his side, Pedri and Ousmane Dembélé. Although both were expected to be fit for Sunday's derby at Spotify Camp Nou when they were injured, they will have to wait until after the international break to come back.

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