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Barcelona expected to field attacking trio with an average age of 20 years vs Athletic Club

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Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona have been dealt with a horrible flip not even midway through this season as injuries have started racking up.

The extremely tight fixture schedule post last year’s World Cup has started to catch up with a lot of top clubs around Europe, but Barça’s already thin and very young squad has faced one of the worst consequences.

Two of Barcelona’s starting midfielders in Frenkie de Jong and Pedri have been sidelined for several weeks now, and the list of decisive players who picked up injuries only grew when Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski were ruled out of action.

As such, Xavi had to field a front-three of Joao Felix, Ferran Torres, and Lamine Yamal against Granada pre-international break as the game ended 2-2.

With no other first-team forwards available, Barcelona are expected to repeat this attacking trident against Athletic Club tonight.

With Ferran and Felix 23 years old, and Yamal only 16, it is without doubt one of the youngest forward lines Barça have fielded in their history, with an average age of just over 20-and-a-half.

Xavi is no stranger to having to use daring attacking tridents, though. During his first few months in charge, he had to field a trio of Ez Abde, Memphis Depay, and Ilias Akhomach in some games, and also used Sergino Dest as a winger against Bayern Munich.

However, Athletic Club will be a tough nut to crack tonight. The Basque outfit have lost only two games this season so far out of ten, and have conceded nine goals during the process – just one less than Barça.

Thankfully, the blaugranes have an impeccable record against Athletic recently. They have scored nine goals in their last three games against them, and conceded none.

Further, Barcelona have not lost a game against Athletic in La Liga since 2019, when an Aritz Aduriz overhead kick stunned them on the opening matchday of the season.

Interestingly enough, Ernesto Valverde was Barça’s manager during this game, but has now returned to the touchline for Athletic themselves.

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