At a time when Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde could have done without another injury to a defender, he has been dealt another blow by Thomas Vermaelen.
As noted by Mundo Deportivo, the Catalan giants already have a concern over Samuel Umtiti, with the French international currently sidelined by a knee injury which may require surgery. In that scenario, he could potentially be ruled out for up to four months.
That’s a massive blow in itself as Umtiti is a major doubt to face Real Madrid in El Clasico on October 28. With that in mind, it could be very sensible to take advantage of Barcelona’s problems at the back by using Bet365’s welcome bonus to back their rivals to come out victorious in the highly-anticipated showdown at the Nou Camp.
While Valverde still has quality in the form of Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet, they have a crucial run of fixtures coming up across all competitions and so with Vermaelen now sidelined too, it leaves them dangerously light in central defence.
The club have officially confirmed that the Belgian stalwart will be out for six weeks due to a hamstring injury which he sustained on international duty, and so that leaves Valverde with only two experienced and natural options in the heart of his defence.
Particularly given that they face La Liga leaders Sevilla, Inter twice in the Champions League and Real Madrid in the coming weeks, this is certainly not a good time to be hit with such bad news on the injury front.
Valverde will be desperately hoping that neither Pique nor Lenglet now pick up a problem of their own, while given the question marks over their form so far this season, it’s already a concern for the reigning Spanish champions as to whether or not they’ll be able to keep things tight at the back.
They’ve already conceded nine goals in just eight games in the league, giving them the worst defensive record of the top eight sides. With the injuries on top of that, it’s an obvious weakness that their rivals will hope to exploit further.