Yesterday, in an unfortunate, yet predictable fashion, four Barcelona players picked up injuries and knocks on the first day of the international break.
Jules Kounde was the first to be substituted off in the wake of what looked like a thigh injury. Not too late after that, Frenkie de Jong was taken off at half-time as a ‘precaution’ by Louis van Gaal.
In the second half of the same game, Memphis Depay went down injured with a hamstring injury, and later, during France vs Austria, Ousmane Dembele was reported to have picked up a muscle overload.
While there are no updates about three of them, initial tests were carried out on Kounde in Paris today. According to Javi Miguel, there is pessimism surrounding his injury. He could be out for as long as four weeks.
While Barcelona have the squad depth to deal with Kounde’s absence, this is definitely problematic for Xavi. The Frenchman had settled in brilliantly over the course of the month, dropping 10/10 performances as a right-back and centre-back.
In fact, Kounde has already registered three assists to his name as a Barcelona player in five games, while also maintaining three clean sheets.
Thankfully, Xavi has the likes of Andreas Christensen, Eric Garcia, and even Gerard Pique at his disposal. However, he faces problems in the right-back department, with only Hector Bellerin and Sergi Roberto available on duty.
Both of them are solid players in their own right, but neither of them quite provides the defensive solidity of Kounde. It will not be surprising to see Xavi opt to use Ronald Araujo in that position across October, where the schedule will get increasingly difficult.