“Why do you think that in the summer we insisted so much to sign Bernardo Silva?”, they question the Barcelona coaching staff. When the Barça board sold 25% of the television rights and 49% of Barça Studios for 727 million euros, their idea was to financially clean up the club; but, above all, it was to reinforce the first team. “If we hadn’t taken that risk, we wouldn’t have this great team today. We need to compete again”, they explained, then, from the economic area after Barça closed the season without any title. Xavi Hernández described the work of the sports area as “excellent”, although he suggested that it had “missed a player”. That player was Bernardo Silva. Manchester City, which at the time had been predisposed to part with Ferran Torres in the winter window of the 2021-2022 campaign, was less generous to transfer the Portuguese to Barça last summer. And the staff Barcelona misses a player of his characteristics. “We only have Pedri”, insist the same sources.
Pedri’s impact on Barcelona’s game is undisguised. All the statistics worsen when the canary walks with a pupa: fewer goals scored (1.2 goals per duel when he is not there compared to 2.3 when he does play) and more goals received (0.9 per 0.5). There is a fact, in any case, much more important. Since Xavi has taken the reins at the Camp Nou, Barcelona have won 87% of the games when the canary has been on the field. Without him, 50%. “We don’t have another player like Pedri who can play inside like he does. Gavi is something else, he gives intensity, but he is a box to box. Pablo Torre is not ready yet, Frenkie [De Jong] We have found his place near Busquets ”, they explain from the Barça coaching staff.
Last season, Xavi’s first on the Barcelona bench, the team had already suffered the absence of the canary. Barça had won 89% of the points with the canary in the field. And, when the 8 did not play, the data had decreased to 49%. “Without Pedri, we drop the invention,” they recall from the coaching staff. “That’s why”, they add; “We insisted on bringing Bernardo. It was not a whim. On top of that, Pedri is injured in the Europa League”.
In the first leg against Manchester United at the Camp Nou, Pedri broke the rectus femoris in his right leg. “It’s a tough stick, it was in a very good moment,” said the canary. He watched the return at Old Trafford on television, just like Barcelona’s defeat against Almería. “Without Pedri we lose the inside game,” they recall in the coaching staff. Barcelona has an average of 551 successful passes per game (361 in rival field) when Pedri plays. The same stat drops to 520 (331) without him on the pitch. At the Mediterranean Games Stadium, Barça tried to break Rubi’s team by the wings. He threw a total of 47 crosses (the season record is 50 against Inter, in the match at the Camp Nou). Only 10 successful. None, however, found Lewandowski, nor Araujo.
Araujo’s case is precisely key for Xavi. Annoyed with the attitude of the team – “We have lacked passion and we are in the most important moment of the season”, he reproached the group -, the coach gave as an example the attitude of the center-back, who jumped onto the field in the 67th minute instead of by Eric Garcia. Xavi placed the Uruguayan in the Almería area. But there was no case. Barcelona closed the duel in Andalusia with a single shot between the three sticks. Lewandowski did not rebel in the area either. “Lewy is in a bit of a down form. He is thicker. It is nothing to worry about ”, they explain in the Sports City about the Polish striker, who suffered a muscle problem on Monday.
At Barça, it is not only Pedri’s loss and Lewandowski’s lack of goals that are worrying (he has scored two goals in Barcelona’s last 11 games in the League and will not play for two weeks due to injury). “Not only do we lack the inside game with the absence of Pedri. We also have Dembélé injured and we don’t have a game on the wings”, says a member of the coaching staff. The winger was injured (anterior rectus of the left leg) in the duel against Girona on January 28. The Frenchman is already training but, according to what they say in the Sports City, “he still has at least a couple of weeks to play.”
Pedri has no one to replace him. Neither Sergi Roberto nor Kessié can play the same role as the Canarian midfielder. Neither did Frenkie De Jong. The problem for Barcelona is that Dembélé doesn’t have someone to watch his back either. And that in the Barcelona group there are two other strikers who prefer to play on the right wing: Raphinha and Ferran Torres. “We have lost the two most decisive players we have in the squad: Pedri and Ousmane”, they explain from the staff From Barcelona. With their best footballers in the infirmary, the Barça bench is silent. And Xavi is already looking for solutions for next Thursday at the Bernabéu in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals. “We have to throw the pressure well and be very solid at the back. We have no other alternative. We do not have the two players who have the ability to generate actions on their own ”, conclude the same sources from the coaching staff.
Barça suffers from the absence of Dembélé and essentially suffers from Pedri, the philosopher’s stone of the Barca game.
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