After what has felt like a very long 2 weeks of international football, Barça are finally back in action. And we start off with one of the most difficult games on our calendar. At 2pm local time, in the early kick off on Saturday afternoon, Barça will be facing Rayo away from home. At a stadium that is always very difficult for us to navigate through.
I think i can speak for the majority of the fanbase when i say this international break has been a difficult one. It’s sucked the energy out of all of us, all related to one man. Gavi. He suffered a serious injury to his ACL during the international break which ultimately means we wont see him again this season. There’s no chance of it.
We’ve lost Gavi for the rest off the season. And I don’t think we can understate how massive that is. Not only just because of how technically gifted he is as a player and how talented he is. But its his passion. His fighting mentality and his energy on the pitch is something irreplaceable. He was having an incredible start to the season too so it just makes this horrific injury so much more bad. We’re really going to miss him. And i think that has taken the buzz out of the fanbase a bit.
That’s why, in today’s game, the most important thing is to start off on a better note. We just need to see some energy. It’s going to be a very difficult game. So we’re going to have to be at our best to get a result out of this. Which is not straightforward.
A Quick Look at our opponents:
Like I’ve mentioned above, games against Rayo are never easy for Barça. Especially away at Vallecas. It’s a difficult pitch to play on and the atmosphere is always intense. I’m not expecting anything less later today. The mastermind behind their huge progression over the years, Iraola, is of course at Bournemouth now. So they don’t play in the same way as they did before. But one thing about them this season, is that they’re incredibly difficult to break down.
Usually setting up in a low block and hitting on the counter. We’re going to have to watch out for players like Izi and R.D.T who will always look to cause damage.
Of course, we all know Gavi isn’t going to be in the team for the rest of the season. It really is heartbreaking to be honest. And its just going to make games more difficult for us. Especially in terms of rotation. But going into this game today, we are also without our wall at back. Ter Stegen. He picked up a back injury during the international break. And through its nothing serious, he hasn’t been able to make it in time for this afternoon’s game. Meaning that the responsibility falls down to our backup keeper Iñaki Pena. Away at Rayo – It really couldn’t be any more of a difficult test as a debut match this season for the Barça backup goalkeeper. One bit of positive news however is that Frenkie De Jong is finally back in the squad. And after a week of all the sad news about Gavi, this really is a massive bonus to the team. It’s going to be interesting to see how Xavi lines up today. I don’t think hell start Araujo or Raphinha considering they’ve both come back from long trips away in South America. Apart from that, it really is anyone’s guess.
My starting lineup:
Cancelo- Kounde- Christensen- Balde
Fermin- Gundogan- Pedri
Yamal- Lewandowski- Felix