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Barcelona’s Defensive Injury Woes Take Another Turn For The Worse

Heading into Saturday’s El Clasico on the wrong side of a six-point gap in La Liga is a less than ideal situation for Barcelona, but the mounting injuries among their defensive back line make the task at hand that much more difficult.

Real Madrid lead the Spanish league with 36 goals scored, and Barcelona’s defensive record of 14 goals conceded puts them behind the likes of Real, Atletico, Villareal and even with Real Sociedad. 

Barca’s defensive unit has struggled to find form and consistency while dealing with a barrage of injuries this season, and they’ve been dealt another blow with news of Jeremy Mathieu suffering a relapse of the calf injury that’s ruled him out since October. The latest prognosis has Mathieu sidelined for another 15 to 20 days, ruling him out of Saturday’s match. 

The Blaugrana have been handed a lifeline with Samuel Umtiti returning from a hamstring injury and given the go-ahead to join his teammates for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey match against Hercules, but the defender hasn’t played since Barca’s victory over Sevilla on October 6th. He almost certainly needs to feature against Hercules to regain a bit of match fitness prior to El Clasico, but he also runs the risk of suffering a setback himself.

Gerard Pique played the full 90 against Real Sociedad on Sunday, but he’s also been dealing with ankle and calf injuries over the past few weeks. 

Finally, Jordi Alba is still a major doubt after suffering bruising to his fibula and knee and spraining his ankle against Sociedad. He’s set to test his fitness this week before a decision is made with regards to Saturday.

By rule, Barca must field at least seven first-team players in today’s match against Hercules, but Luis Enrique has still included five Barca B players in the squad while omitting Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Pique.

Gareth Bale’s ankle injury, a traumatic dislocation that required surgery, gives Barca a slight reprieve in defense but the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Alvaro Morata, Karim Benzema, Isco and Lucas Vazquez will give the Catalan side more than enough food for thought.

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