The international break has not been kind to Barcelona. During the break, Xavi Hernandez has lost a handful of important players.
Both his starting center-backs, Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo, suffered injuries. The Frenchman could be out up to a month. The Uruguayan is facing two to three months on the sidelines following surgery.
Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay also picked up knocks. Memphis is also expected to be out a month. The bit of good news for Barcelona is De Jong is only expected to miss the match against Real Mallorca.
Xavi is going to have to get creative with his starting line-up when his side travels to face Mallorca — particularly at right-back.
As mentioned, Kounde, who has been deployed there, is out. Hector Bellerin, the only natural right-back, got injured during a training session and is expected to miss two to three weeks. Sergi Roberto, who is coming back from injury, could be available should he get the green light.
Another option for Xavi could be changing formation. He could go with a 3-4-3 system with Andreas Christensen, Eric Garcia and Marcos Alonso as the center-backs. Alejandro Balde, who has had a spectacular start to the season, could be moved further up the pitch as a left wingback.
In any case, Barcelona are set to enter an important — perhaps the most important — part of their schedule down a number of key players. Fortunately, the game against Mallorca should allow Xavi to experiment a little.
That is not to say he is looking past Mallorca but, on paper, the Catalans should not have too much trouble picking up a win, given the amount of talent they have in midfield and up front.
The match following the FIFA break has seemingly always a struggle for Barcelona. Two points behind Real Madrid and the Clasico coming up in a couple of weeks, Barcelona cannot afford to drop points.