European football resumes for FC Barcelona this Thursday night as they face Manchester United in the Round of 32 of the Europa League. While the whole tie is guaranteed to be a highly competitive affair, one thing the Barcelona manager will have to be especially careful about is Gavi’s possible suspension.
This tie is not only a chance for Xavi and his men to advance to the later stages of the competition, but also restore the confidence in the team that they can face top European teams, which has been broken to a significant extent due to the way the team has been eliminated from European competitions in recent years.
FC Barcelona clearly seem to be on a redemptive arc in their domestic competitions, as they have an 11-point gap over their closest rivals in the league, Real Madrid. The Cules will have to ensure they carry this form in the European competition and go as far into the tournament as possible to reestablish Barcelona’s status in top European football.
One possible barrier to such an outcome can come in the form of Gavi getting suspended for the second leg against United. According to UEFA official website, Gavi has to get only one more yellow card to make him ineligible for the succeeding UEFA match, as he has already accumulated two bookings in the group stage. His fiery temper and youth make him particularly prone to go into challenges recklessly, which increases the possibility of him getting booked.
Although FC Barcelona have a strong depth in midfield, Gavi’s absence in the second leg against United could be particularly damaging for the team as Sergio Busquets is also currently out with an injury.
The Barcelona captain suffered an injury two weeks ago and is expected to miss the first leg, and is also doubtful for the second leg against Manchester United. Thus, Gavi will have to tread carefully and Xavi will have to do his best to rein in the fiery midfielder to avoid such a possibility of him missing the second leg.