FC Barcelona have announced the squad list that will take on Dynamo Kyiv in the UEFA Champions League gameweek 4. The Catalan giants will travel to the Ukrainian capital on the back of an underwhelming performance against Atletico Madrid which saw them get beaten 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano.
There are a couple of huge surprises in the squad. One of which is the absence of Lionel Messi. The Argentine did not put up a convincing performance against Atletico on the weekend, like the rest of the team, and the reasons for his absence in the team is unknown.
Frenkie de Jong has not been mentioned either. The Dutchman was expected to fill in at centre-back in the absence of Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo and Samuel Umtiti, all three of which are injured. Pique picked up an injury on the weekend, and will not be seen for a few months, while Umtiti’s recovery is still underway. We can, however, expect to see Araujo back in the starting XI against Osasuna this weekend.
The injury list does not get any smaller for Barcelona, with Sergi Roberto missing out as well after being taken off against Atleti.
Sergio Busquet is still injured, but filling in for him is Matheus Fernandes – the Brazilian who was not even presented to the Camp Nou. Riqui Puig and Carles Aleña will also travel, but it will not be surprising to see Mathus get a start over the Spanish duo tomorrow.
Filling in the attack is Konrad de la Fuente, who has been in and out of the squad too often lately. However, with the exclusion of Messi and Fati, we might see him get his official first-team debut tomorrow.
Oscar Mingueza is another Barcelona B player who returns to the squad, and is the only other centre-back apart from Clement Lenglet mentioned in the squad list. Everything points at him pairing up with the Frenchman in the heart of the defence tomorrow.
The full squad: Ter Stegen, Neto, Arnau Tenas; Dest, Lenglet, Mingueza, Alba, Firpo; Mathues, Aleña, Pedri, Pjanic, Puig, Coutinho; Griezmann, Trincão, Dembele, Braithwaite, Konrad
Barcelona have enjoyed a solid start to life in the 2020/21 Champions League season, winning all three of their games, two of them with absolute conviction. Dynamo Kyiv was the only team which gave the Blaugrana a run for their money in this competition, and in the absence of several first-team personnel, tomorrow might be the right time for Koeman to tinker with his tactics, and maybe deploy a different structure.
Gerard Pique appoints Eder Sarabia as head coach for his team Andorra
In an interesting turn of events, Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique has appointed Eder Sarabia as head coach for his team Andorra. Sarabia served as Quique Setien’s assistant during the Spaniard’s six-month tenure at Barcelona ranging from January to August before the coaching staff was sacked for a humiliating exit at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Pique’s Kosmos Holding Group bought Andorra, who operated in the Tercera Division – the Spain’s fourth tier, in December 2018. After raising enough funds, and going on a 22 match unbeaten run, Andorra replaced CF Reus in the Segunda Division B.
After the dismissal of Gabri Garcia following a poor run of form, Nacho Castro was appointed as the head coach. After nearly a year in-charge, on January 18, Andorra announced through a press release that Castro would not be continuing at the club. Three hours later, Eder Sarabia was appointed.
This appointment has come as a surprise to Barcelona fans considering Sarabia’s controversial tenure with the club. The Spaniard had been on the end of several heated discussion with club captain Lionel Messi, with videos releasing of the assistant shouting and cursing at the players during a game against Celta Vigo last season.
Gerard Piqué appointed Eder Sarabia as head coach for his team Andorra. https://t.co/atKA5Lv6lb— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) January 18, 2021
Andorra currently sit second in Group III-A of the Segunda Division B, three points clear of Barcelona B. The two are set to meet on 7th February in Round 15 of the third division. The Encamp outfit won the last meeting, held in November 2020, between the two with a goal from Carlos Martinez Rodriguez enough to scrape a 1-0 win through.