Barcelona Midfield Crisis: De Jong and Pedri Sidelined Ahead of Crucial Fixtures

Barcelona’s hopes of a successful season run-in have been dealt a significant blow with the news that key midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Pedri are both set to miss important fixtures due to injuries. De Jong suffered a sprained ankle ligament in a recent match against Athletic Club, while Pedri is dealing with a thigh problem that has kept him out of action. These setbacks come at a crucial time for the Catalan club, as they prepare for crucial Champions League and LaLiga matches.

While De Jong is expected to be sidelined for around a month, the situation is less clear for Pedri. Given the young midfielder’s history of injuries, there is a reluctance to put a specific timeframe on his return to action. It is unlikely that Pedri will feature again until at least April, as Barcelona’s medical team focuses on ensuring his full recovery before rushing him back onto the pitch.

With De Jong and Pedri joining Gavi on the sidelines, Barcelona find themselves short in midfield at a crucial stage of the campaign. This shortage comes just as the team faces important matches, including the second leg of the Champions League round-of-16 tie against Napoli and a key LaLiga fixture against Atlético Madrid. The absence of these key players will undoubtedly test the depth of Barcelona’s squad and put pressure on the remaining fit midfielders to step up.

Both De Jong and Pedri have had their fair share of injury troubles in recent seasons. This is the second time this season that De Jong has suffered a sprained ankle, having previously been sidelined for almost two months with a similar injury. Pedri, on the other hand, has struggled with various issues since his breakout season in 2020-21, missing a significant number of games due to hamstring and muscle problems. These repeated injuries raise concerns about the long-term health and durability of both players.

In the absence of key midfielders, Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández has called up young talents Marc Casadó and Pau Prim to train with the first team. This presents an opportunity for these promising players to showcase their skills and potentially fill the void left by the injured stars. Additionally, Xavi may need to explore tactical adjustments, such as deploying centre-back Andreas Christensen in a more advanced position, to compensate for the lack of midfield options.

As Barcelona navigate a challenging period without De Jong and Pedri, the team faces a crucial set of fixtures that will define their season. From the must-win Champions League clash against Napoli to the battle for a top-four finish in LaLiga, Barcelona must find ways to overcome the absence of key players and remain competitive. The success of the team in these upcoming matches will depend on the ability of the remaining squad members to step up and deliver when it matters most.

Barcelona

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