After picking an injury against Switzerland on Saturday, Sergio Busquets will be sidelined for three weeks, according to reports. As a Ronald Koeman favourite, Busquets will leave a hole in the team and his coach will have to fill it. This injury means Busquets could miss four games.
Busquets is not a usual suspect when it comes to injuries. He has not gotten injured for more than a few weeks, and it is the case again now. In fact, the last time he got such a ‘lengthy’ injury was in 2018.
In those three weeks, the La Masia graduate will miss two league games and two Champions League outings. Most importantly, he will miss out on the Atlético Madrid fixture, a potential title decider for the Catalan giants. Busquets will also miss both the Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencvaros games. This does not come as a problem as the Catalans are in a perfect position in the competition.
However, the holding midfielder will also miss the Osasuna fixture. The Basque side is the last one to beat Barcelona at Camp Nou. Without Ansu Fati, Ronald Araujo, and Busquets, it might be hard to get a result.
Who could replace Busquets?
The 32-year-old started ten games this season, and this now leaves Koeman in a delicate position. During three weeks, the Dutchman will have to replace his holding midfielder. The natural replacement is Miralem Pjanic.
Pjanic started some games in front of Busquets and replaced the veteran during games. In the games he played, the Bosnian was superb and will start for the next three weeks. The real question now is to ask who will be Pjanic’s replacement if he gets tired or injured.
Despite the positive atmosphere around Pjanic, the Culés would also like to see the youngsters at work. Players like Carles Aleña and Riqui Puig have played a derisory amount of minutes because their coach does not rate them. The fans want to see Puig as they feel like he earned his place thanks to his superb form under Quique Setién.
Survey — Who should replace Busquets in the midfield for the coming weeks? pic.twitter.com/aJdXjyXIhn— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) November 15, 2020
Koeman said that he wanted to incorporate youngsters when he came. Now is the perfect time to experiment with less experienced players.
Against Atlético Madrid on the 21st, Pjanic will start. However, against smaller sides, or perhaps in the Champions League where Barça are in a superb position, Puig and Aleña should get the gametime. Other than these two, Culés want to see other youngsters. Perhaps with Ilaix Moriba injured, Ilias Akhomach could get his first minutes under the Dutchman.
Akhomach, Moriba, Puig and Aleña are the three most talented midfielders that have come through the ranks at La Masia. Discarding the latter two might prove to be a mistake from Koeman, but he’s now obliged to use them, at least sporadically. Busquets’ injury, while horrible for the player himself, has unlocked the way for youngsters and might be a blessing in disguise for them.
Koeman’s press conference ahead of Sevilla clash ends prematurely due to a nosebleed
As Barcelona gear-up to take on Sevilla in gameweek 25 of La Liga, Ronald Koeman sat down to address the media as part of his pre-game press conference. However, his presser was interrupted, and consequently ended prematurely due to a nosebleed the Dutchman suffered while speaking. This is the second time this is happening this season, with the first incident occurring before the Athletic Bilbao game last month. It comes possibly as a result of the blood thinners he takes after suffering from heart problems last year, as has been reported by Javi Miguel.
❗Koeman's press conference came to an end after a nosebleed. This is the second time it's happened this season – the first being in the press conference before the game against Bilbao on January 30. We hope the coach is doing fine.— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 26, 2021
Before the presser was halted, Koeman spoke about how the two consecutive games against Sevilla are different from one another, saying “There are two different games. Tomorrow we play for La Liga, and Wednesday for the Copa del Rey. We have to win both games and we hope to continue our unbeaten streak in the league tomorrow.”
As part of merry news, Ronald Araujo has entered the squad list for the first time in five games after suffering an ankle injury against Real Betis. Koeman addressed his inclusion in the presser, saying, “Araújo has entered the list and everyone who enters the list has options to play. We’ll decide our XI tomorrow.”
Koeman clearly holds the young defender in high praise, and complimented him in today’s presser as well, saying, “Araújo has had a very good season so far. He’s young, but he has learned and shown a lot. He has a great physique level, he’s strong and fast, and he brings us many things defensively.”
The topic surrounding Barcelona’s lack of leadership came up yet again, despite there being several veteran players in the side. Koeman singled out Lionel Messi again, while calling for contribution from others: “Veteran players have tried to take control, but they can’t do it alone either. Messi has 17-18 goals, the same as everyone else put together. Responsibility must be shared.”
“I know that being a Barça coach there is always a lot of pressure. If you don’t win, it’s the manager’s mistake. I don’t know what could happen in the future, there is time to talk about that, but I’m optimistic,” Koeman said in regards to how he feels about his future as a Barcelona coach with the elections nearby.
The last thing Koeman talked about was voting in the elections before rushing out of the room. He said, “The elections? I will not vote because I think I don’t have to vote. I have to wait, and the socios will decide.”