Alaves match would be a good opportunity for Barcelona to rest key midfielder

Ilkay Gundogan of FC Barcelona competes for the ball with Juan Miranda of Real Betis
Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The new arrivals that came to the club last summer have gelled in perfectly at FC Barcelona, so much so that three of these players have established themselves as surefire starters in Xavi’s team.

The Catalans brought in high-profile players like Ilkay Gundogan, Joao Felix, and Joao Cancelo over the summer. All of these players have had an instant impact, and Xavi is already relying on them for some key roles in the team.

The extent of Xavi’s reliance on one of these players, Ilkay Gundogan, can be seen by the fact he has accumulated eleven consecutive games in which he has played every possible minute. He is the outfield player with the highest number of appearances, along with Lamine Yamal, and also with the highest number of minutes played, a total of 1361.

Only the goalkeeper, Marc Andre Ter Stegen, surpasses the midfielder in these two aspects, and Xavi has been reluctant to keep Gundogan out of his team because of his leadership and quality, as well as the absence of two other important midfielders, Pedri and Frenkie de Jong.

Now that Pedri has returned to action, SPORT notes that the next match against Alaves would be a natural option for Xavi to give some rest to Gundogan.

In addition to playing every match for Barcelona, Gundogan is also the captain for Germany in the absence of Manuel Neuer and thus is also highly likely to play in the coming international break with his national side.

Being of Turkish descent, Gundogan will be gunning to participate in the tie against Turkey on 18th November and can also play against Austria on 21st November.

In recent games, Gundogan has looked somewhat below his normal standards, which is natural, keeping in view the fatigue he has accumulated over the months. Xavi would have given him a rest earlier but did not do so to avoid any misinterpretations after the German’s critical comments after the match against Real Madrid.

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