Barça travel to Elche tomorrow for the second leg of the Copa del Rey last 16 (Thursday 10 pm). The tie is as good as over following the easy 5-0 victory in the first leg last week so Luis Enrique is expected to give an opportunity to the lesser-used first team players and to some Barça B youngsters. Munir El-Haddadi, Adama Traore, Sergi Samper, Edgar Ié, Gerard Gumbau and Alen Halilovic all trained with the first team today and they could all be included in the 16-man squad for the game which Luis Enrique will announce in the morning.
Munir, Adama, Samper and Ié have already appeared for the first team this season but we could see debuts tomorrow for Gumbau and Halilovic. The 20-year-old Gumbau signed for Barça B from Girona last summer, he is a solid midfielder who has quickly established himself in Eusebio’s team, scoring two goals in 16 appearances. The Croatian international Halilovic shone in the first team pre-season friendlies but still seems to be adapting to Barça’s system. However, the 18-year-old looks very exciting on the ball and has scored twice in his thirteen appearances for Barça B.
The team for tomorrow’s game is likely to be a complete change to the XI that beat Atlético Madrid on Sunday. Luis Enrique will have to decide whether to give another game to Ter Stegen in goal or whether the match might prove more useful to give more experience to Jordi Masip. The two full-back positions will be disputed by Montoya, Adriano and Douglas but it seems likely that Bartra and Mathieu if he is fully recovered will start in central defence. The midfield might be an exciting-looking Samper-Halilovic-Sergi Roberto while we could see an attack of Pedro, Munir and Rafinha.
Unless there is a calamity of catastrophic proportions Barça will face the winner of the Atlético-Real Madrid tie in the quarter-finals. Atlético lead 2-0 from the first leg.
Elche: Tyton; Damián, Lomban, Roco, Albacar, Cisma; Pasalic, Pelegrin; Fajr; Coro, Cristian Herrera.
Barça: Masip; Montoya, Bartra, Mathieu, Adriano; Halilovic, Samper, Sergi Roberto; Munir, Rafinha, Pedro.
Prediction: Elche 1 Barça 2
Date: Thursday 15 January 2015. Kick-off 10 pm local time.