Barcelona is about to be put on a test by Atletico Madrid. Both teams will be eager to win, and we’re guaranteed to see a great game.
But sometimes in football, injuries can give advantage to the opposite team. In this case, Barcelona is the team with a key player missing because on an injury.
It’s not Messi, Neymar, Suarez or Iniesta.
It’s the new signing Samuel Umtiti. Losing Messi because of an injury is probably the worst thing that could happen right now, but that doesn’t mean Umtiti is not a key player.
Defending is as important as scoring goals, especially against a team like Atletico Madrid. They’re extremely dangerous on set pieces, and Umtiti is the strongest and tallest player alongside Pique.
Mascherano will be replacing Umtiti against Atletico, and he will be highly motivated to retain his place as a starter.
We can’t say Mascherano was responsible for loosing against Alaves. But he sure is responsible for conceding the second goal.
It was a classic amateur mistake that you’re not expecting from a professional footballer playing for Barcelona.
He’s more than solid defender in overall, but he’s getting older and slower. Which leads to more frequent mistakes.
Can Mascherano handle the big game?
It’s 100% normal to make mistakes in football, no matter if you play for Barcelona or against your friends. But the manager’s job is to pick the player with the ability to handle pressure and make less mistakes.
Umtiti had an impressive few games. The derby against Atletico was going to be a real test for him personally. It was an opportunity to prove the fans and the coach that even though he’s not a super star signing, he can do the job and fit into the system.
But you can’t predict injuries in football, and you can’t stop them either. Umtiti sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during training on Tuesday, and he’ll miss the match against Atletico Madrid.
Enrique will be informed about the seriousness of the injury, after the Barcelona medial stuff is done with analyzing Umtiti’s knee.
Atletico has injury problems too
On the other hand, Atletico players that will miss the derby because of an injury are Alessio Cerci and Tiago.
“This Saturday, we have found, beyond the work, a feeling, and goals, which is good for our forwards.”
“Great start of Gameiro and Griezmann, then Torres entered from the bench and was very energetic, and that speaks well of the commitment and how well everyone is.”
Griezmann is one of the best forwards in the league. He’s extremely fast, good with the ball and can easily handle one-on-one situation VS an opposite defender. But he’s not the real danger when it comes to set pieces.
Diego Godin and Torres will be the players to focus on when it comes to the risk of conceding a goal from corners, and free kicks.
That’s exactly why Umtiti will be missed. But let’s just hope Barcelona will pressure Atletico and keep the ball on their half of the pitch.