Barcelona signed Koundé this summer and renewed Araújo with a clause of 1,000 million so that they would be, both 23 years old, the new chiefs of defense for a long time. With the Frenchman joining the team, the national team break came, which has left Xavi Hernández without one and without the other. They have also lost to the Netherlands Frenkie de Jong and Memphis. But the Barcelona coach, although he is disappointed, prefers not to make excuses or blame this "mini-plague" of injuries. “It frustrates me but they are misfortunes. The case of each player is different. If you analyze it, there is no cause, it is multifactorial, ”he said without wanting to charge the ink against anyone. "It's the calendar, the trips, the change of training...", he listed. “In addition, Bellerín has also been injured with us”, recalled the loss of the right back in a training session at the sports city.
Xavi chose to seek solutions to the problem that has been created for him, to try to continue with the same good feelings with which the team started the season and to achieve the sixth consecutive victory in the League in Mallorca. And that happens by finding new leaders in the axis of a defense that has barely conceded a goal in the championship.
To do this, on the trip to Palma, the Egarense coach can look at what he built during the tour of the United States. The pair of central defenders made up of Eric Garcia and Christensen was one of the positive aspects of the preseason, along with the emergence of Balde, who earned a spot on the team.
The defender from Martorell, re-fished in 2021, and the Dane, who arrived this summer, played against Inter Miami, Madrid, Juventus and the NY Red Bulls and stood out for their good handling of the ball, for their courage in marking the line high and for its placement and anticipation. In three of the four friendlies, Barça kept a clean sheet.
Garcia, formerly of City, and Christensen, from Chelsea, also coincided in the first two official matches but have not played together since August 22 at Anoeta. “The five centre-backs I have are guarantees”, defends Xavi, including Piqué. "I look at what we need in each game to choose: I look at the physical load, if we need more ball output because we are going to be dominant, if we need more aerial play because the rival is very physical...", he explained his arguments . The 26-year-old Dane has just played 180 minutes with Denmark while the young Spanish international played against Switzerland but rested against Portugal. “We called Tite and the France coach. In the Spanish team they work very well on the subject of loads and the training sessions are very similar”, discovered the Egarense. Just in case, Marc Casadó also travels, from the subsidiary, who can play right back if Sergi Roberto, a novelty on the list, suffers.
In that sense, against Mallorca, Barcelona will have to take care of Muriqi's 194 centimeters. A specialist in direct play, the Kosovar, with three goals, has scored half of the goals scored by the Balearic Islands, including one against Madrid. “Javier Aguirre has a lot of soul and he transmits it to his teams. At the Bernabeu they competed very well against Madrid. It is no coincidence that they have started well. We have a difficult exit, ”he warned.
Xavi is particularly hurt by Araújo's loss. “The thing about Ronald annoys me because he is long-term and he has had to operate. It made a lot of differences for us behind”, he lamented. On the other hand, he does not rule out Koundé recovering for the classic against the whites. It would be important because Barcelona, after Mallorca and before Madrid, have a double duel against Inter. “The schedule is quite tight. There are 8 league games and 4 Champions. This section before the World Cup is quite important. You have to add and be up in both competitions. They are not definitive matches, but they are transcendent”, motivated the team.