Barcelona have announced the starting XI that will take on Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou for gameweek 19 of the La Liga season. Sociedad, who are top of the league, will have to go up against a Barcelona team without Clement Lenglet who has been replaced by Oscar Mingueza in the heart of the defence. He partners Ronald Araujo in that role, while Jordi Alba and Sergino Dest provide the width from the back. Marc-Andre ter Stegen continues in goal.
Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets retain their positions in the starting XI, but Philippe Coutinho has been replaced by Pedri in what is expected to be a 4-2-3-1.
On the opposite side, Lionel Messi starts on the right-wing, while Antoine Griezmann assumes his role in the centre of the pitch as the secondary striker. Martin Braithwaite is deployed the central striker.
Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Mingueza, Alba; Busquets, de Jong; Messi, Griezmann, Pedri; Braithwaite
Clement Lenglet’s poor run of form sees him dropped from the starting XI, paving way for Oscar Mingueza, and deservedly so. On the contrary, seeing Sergio Busquets start will certainly be discouraging when there are players like Miralem Pjanic, Riqui Puig, and Carles Aleña awaiting their turns on the bench.
Official: Barcelona confirm Pedri muscular injury
All victories come with a cost and Barcelona’s great triumph over Sevilla is no exception. Sadly, the Catalans’ young prodigy, Pedri, had to leave the pitch in the second half of the clash and now, the club has officially confirmed that the 18-year-old had sustained a muscular injury.
As of right now, however, we still don’t know how serious it is and we’ll have to wait for further information, which is most likely to arrive tomorrow. Unfortunately, the early speculations are not good as it seems Pedri could indeed be out of commission for a couple of weeks at least.
Needless to say, that’s a huge hit for Barcelona since the schedule is unrelenting. Soon, it will be time to face Sevilla again in the Copa del Rey and also Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Doing so without Pedri could indeed be troublesome.
But we also have to wonder how did it come to this injury. The 18-year-old is a key member of the squad so it’s understandable Ronald Koeman would want him to play all the time.
However, that might be the very crux of the problem too. With so little rest in-between the games, it was just a matter of time before Pedri’s body could take no more.
Still, not all is lost and he should be back in time to help Barcelona finish the season strong. And besides, now the youngster can finally get some well-deserved rest.
Hopefully the team can manage without him for a short period of time.