Tactical Insights

Barça gearing up to stop Mbappé with new strategies


The upcoming double quarter-final match of the Champions League between PSG and FC Barcelona, set for April 10 at the Parc des Princes in Paris and on the 16th at Montjuïc, has the Barça team eagerly awaiting the return of their international players in top form after their national team matches. Ensuring everyone is back in the best shape possible is a key priority. The close proximity of this double showdown raises an additional concern: while Luis Enrique Martínez’s PSG is more of a team effort than before, it’s no secret that Kylian Mbappé remains the main offensive threat for the Ligue 1 champions. That’s why at Barça, it’s crucial that the two main defenders tasked with containing him, Jules Koundé and Ronald Araujo, return in optimal condition to tackle this important challenge.

As previously mentioned, center-back Araujo, known for his ability to handle explosive players like Mbappé, will return to Barcelona without playing in either of Uruguay’s recent matches. He sat out the friendly against Euskadi last Saturday and will also miss the game against Ivory Coast this Tuesday (8:30 p.m.) in Lens, France. Coach Marcelo Bielsa granted Araujo permission after discussing the matter with him, considering the heavy workload he has faced. Since the start of 2024, Araujo has missed two games due to suspension and barely had any rest in a third. During the last FIFA international break in 2023, Araujo played in all matches against Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia.

Meanwhile, the latest update on Jules Koundé is positive, despite concerns raised by his early substitution in the friendly between France and Germany last Saturday. Koundé was taken off in the 61st minute, sparking worries about his right ankle. However, subsequent assessments ruled out any serious injury. It was reported that he received a knock that required icing. His current condition will be confirmed in the France-Chile match this Tuesday (9 p.m.).

Finally, there is also that Spain-Brazil in which Pau Cubarsí can star in his second presence in the senior team. The 17-year-old Barça centre-back has also had a sequence of very demanding matches, resolved with celebrated efficiency. Since forwards of Mbappé’s level are not strictly stopped by a single score, but rather by a well-worked aid system, Barça will also be awaiting the return of Cubarsí.

With the internationals back, FC Barcelona is gearing up with its squad for the final match before heading to Paris to face PSG. The game will take place next Saturday against UD Las Palmas in Montjuïc at 9 p.m.



This content has been translated and adapted from the Spanish version of the digital newspaper



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