Gerard Piqué’s injury decimated a Catalan defence, that was already very poor both quantitatively and qualitatively
Bad night. Two words that probably sum up well what Ronald Koeman’s troops experienced on the pitch of the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday evening. A 1-0 defeat against a much superior Atlético de Madrid that puts the Catalans already nine points behind the Colchoneros, who are the favourites for the La Liga title this season. But that’s not all… The Catalans have also lost Gerard Piqué, who came out in the second half after a clash with Angel Correa.
All indications are that the experienced 33-year-old defender will be away for several months, as Barcelona have already informed that the Catalan suffers from a sprained medial collateral ligament and a partial ACL injury to his right knee. In any case, we won’t see him again during the last weeks of the competition, and that’s the best case scenario.
De Jong, Barça’s new central defender?
A weight loss for the Blaugranas. Even if the number 3 sometimes has jumps in concentration that push him to make mistakes, he remains the most reliable central defender in the squad, at a time when Clément Lenglet is clearly below his best level. For his part, Samuel Umtiti is missing due to injuries, while Ronald Araujo remains a young player who, however promising he may be, does not yet offer any guarantees. There is every reason to believe that the Uruguayan will make up the central hinge with Lenglet, but Koeman is likely to be a thorn in his side when he is first injured or suspended.
The match against Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday will be a good symbol of the poverty of the Catalan squad in this position, since Koeman will have to play without Araujo and Umtiti, both injured, and therefore without Piqué. There is every reason to believe that Frenkie de Jong will be in charge of central defence, as has already happened in the course of this season’s match, as recently as Saturday. The rest of the season is likely to be very long and everything leads us to believe that the Barcelona team will be even more determined to bring back Eric Garcia (Manchester City) this winter…