The depth of the squad is often as important as the quality of players on the pitch for elite clubs like Barcelona. The hectic schedule demands player rotations, and that is possible only if the manager has options at his disposal.
The recent injuries of Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, Sergino Dest, and Memphis Depay have brought to the fore the importance of having backups.
Last night, Barcelona played Ronald Araujo at right-back owing to a lack of options and were thus forced to bring on Clement Lenglet when Pique went off injured.
One other position where the club have few options is at centre forward. Apart from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Luuk de Jong is the only player who has Xavi’s faith to play as a striker.
However, the Dutch international was unavailable in the last game after he tested positive for COVID.
According to reports from Toni Juanmarti, de Jong has tested negative today and has resumed training with the group.
This comes as a big relief for Xavi who must field a rejuvenated XI in less than 72 hours. Moreover, Aubameyang’s poor form after the international break could prompt the manager to look for other options.
The Gabonese striker failed to register a single shot on target yesterday and failed to create any threat in the Eintracht Frankfurt box. Given his dip in form, Luuk de Jong could well start against Levante on Sunday.
In 15 La Liga games this season, the former Sevilla striker has scored five goals and missed four big chances.