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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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Barcelona: Xavi is committed to the defence of the future

Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia and Alejandro Balde is the only back four that Xavi Hernandez has chosen on more than one occasion this season.

These four have featured in three games, who are also the four youngest in the squad. Between the four of them, they have an average age of 21.7 years.

The Catalan coach is clearly looking to build the Barcelona backline of the future, despite so many experienced defenders in the squad.

Barcelona have ten defenders in their squad this season. Last summer, the Blaugranas signed four reinforcements for the different defensive positions. But the likes of Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Marcos Alonso can’t get a game.

Kounde, 24, Araujo, 23, Eric, 21, and Balde, 19, played together against Valladolid, Sevilla and Elche. In these three LaLiga matches, Barcelona kept clean sheets.

Six different backlines

For example, on the first game of LaLiga, the coach opted for Araujo at right-back, Andreas Christensen and Eric Garcia in the centre, and Alba on the left.

Against Real Sociedad, he changed the left-back, with Balde coming in. Against Valladolid and Sevilla he repeated the same line-up at the back, but for the Champions League opener against Viktoria Plzen, he brought in Sergi Roberto.

At Cadiz, Pique played his first, and so far only, game as a starter and Hector Bellerin made his debut. In the following Champions League game against Bayern Munich, Alonso made his debut in the eleven. And last Saturday, Xavi again relied on Kounde, Araujo, Eric and Balde.

Therefore, what was supposed to be a defence for the future seems to be one for the present. In fact, Araujo has started seven games, all of them in LaLiga and one in the Champions League, and Eric Garcia is close behind, with six starts.

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