Barça opens the reconquest at Linares
BARCELONA, Jan 4 (Cinktank.com) –
Barça begin the defense of their Copa del Rey title by going to Deportivo de Linares, in a first leg of the 32nd finals where the Andalusians, of the Primera RFEF, intend to surprise and have the best of kings against a team from the “King of Cups” who know they are at the start of a great sporting challenge.
The blaugranas are in sporting improvement and, despite the fact that they are still in the frame due to the numerous injuries and positive for the coronavirus, they are still favorites in this start of the recapture of the Cup, which passes, in its first stage , by the Municipal de Linarejos.
This time around, there won’t be too many rotations at Barca despite playing against a Primera RFEF – the third category in Spanish football – because Xavi Hernandez doesn’t have much of a choice. The final number of infected players is also uncertain, with Dani Alves yet to be registered and make his official debut.
It is known, confirmed by the Blaugrana coach himself, that Ansu Fati and Pedri are still not recovered from their injuries, and that newcomer Ferran Torres – one of the bright spots – still cannot be registered, because for that the club will have to release a player on whom it does not count.
Many unknowns outside the field but, on the pitch, it will be necessary to give everything against a Deportivo Linares who flirts with relegation in the standings, who lost at home against Barça B but who, in the Cup and with the illusion shared with some 10,000 supporters, is sure to make the biggest bang after those entering 2022 a few days ago.
In addition, the brand new Linares Deportivo recruit, confirmed on Tuesday, could make his debut; Marc Caballé in the past tense of ‘perico’ and who arrives free after leaving Sanluqueño. But, even if he’s not playing, Linares Deportivo have all the available players ready to attempt to pull off the feat.
They already did something similar on December 14 by eliminating Deportivo Alavés (2-1), another Primera team they faced. Xavi himself has emphasized the style of play of Linares, an organized team who will seek to stay true to their style of play despite facing the most successful Copa del Rey team in the history of the competition.
Of course, Barça will have a lot of absentees. Many of them. But they also arrive after beating RCD Mallorca (0-1) thanks to a goal from Luuk De Jong who, until his departure from the team, can become the top scorer in the absence of Ansu Fati or Memphis , injured, and while waiting for Ferran Torres.
With two wins and two draws in the last four official duels, Barça is improving. According to the president, Joan Laporta, they have « returned » to where they were not so long ago, with weight in the European market. Maybe they are still on their way to the top flight, and the truth is that in LaLiga Santander they are making a comeback.
In this Copa del Rey, they have placed a lot of hopes of winning a title in this season which is a transitional season, and in which Xavi Hernández wants to sow the foundations of the team that will no longer be his from the season next. But with the Super Cup at hand, the Copa del Rey is a clear goal. Revalidating him would be a great achievement with this rebuilding team suffering from several scourges of injuries.
-… POSSIBLE ALIGNMENTS.
LINARES DEPORTIVO: Razak; Perejón, Lolo, Josema, Barbosa; Sanchidrián, Rodri, Meléndez, Fran Carnicer; Nando Copete and Hugo Díaz.
FC BARCELONA: Neto; Mingueza, Araujo, Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Riqui Puig, Nico González; Ilias, Luuk de Jong and Jutglà.
– REFERRED: Guillermo Cuadra Fernández (C. Balear).
-STADIUM: Estadio Municipal de Linarejos.