Tactical Insights

Barcelona injury update: will Frenkie de Jong and Pedri be fit to play against PSG and Real Madrid?

Things are going as smoothly as can be expected for Barcelona at the moment, although there is all to play for in the next 21 days. In the next three weeks, Xavi Hernández’s will play LaLiga games against Cádiz and Real Madrid, as well as both legs of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Paris Saint-Germain.

Given the team’s inconsistency for much of the season, many Barça fans aren’t especially optimistic about what their team can achieve before the summer break. However, head coach Xavi Hernández and president Joan Laporta are eternal optimists, which will likely have rubbed off on others.

La Blaugrana haven’t yet given up all hope of beating their Clásico rivals, eight points ahead, to the league title, while they remain alive in Europe. The challenges are clear and Barcelona have given themselves a chance, although pulling off the spectacular is another matter entirely.

Did Robert Lewandowski get deliberately booked against Las Palmas to play in El Clásico?

The Catalans went into Saturday’s LaLiga game against Las Palmas with five players just one yellow card away from a suspension: Robert Lewandowski, João Cancelo, Íñigo Martínez. Oriol Romeu and Andreas Christensen. The first three are especially important to Xavi and were all booked at the weekend. As a result, they will be forced to sit out the match away to Cádiz on 13 April but will be available to face Real Madrid at the Bernabéu the following weekend. A coincidence or deliberate, “clever” planning?

Romeu and Christensen are still walking a disciplinary tightrope, although the former is well down the pecking order in midfield and the latter didn’t have the chance to wipe his personal slate clean against Las Palmas as he missed out because of an Achilles problem.

With no LaLiga fixtures scheduled next weekend due to the Copa del Rey final, Barcelona will have 10 days to prepare for the first leg of their last-eight tie against PSG, with Xavi likely to be handed two timely fitness boosts.

De Jong and Pedri likely to return from injury to face PSG in the Champions League

After Ferran Torres made his return to action from a muscle problem against Las Palmas, key midfield duo Frenkie De Jong and Pedri are expected to be available to feature – to some extent – against the French champions.

Pedri, who tore a muscle in his hamstring on 3 March, has returned to group training, although Barça are treating his recovery with more caution as he has suffered a number of similar injuries in the last couple of years. His involvement in Paris on 10 April will depend on how things go between now and then.

De Jong, meanwhile, should also resume full training this week and is more likely to play against PSG following an ankle sprain, of which a recurrence is less probable.

In any case, Xavi is hopeful that both players will be able to play some part in the first leg at the Parc des Princes and that they will be nearing full fitness by the time El Clásico comes around at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on 21 April.

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