Heading into February of 2023, FC Barcelona have an upcoming assortment of crucial yet difficult games both domestically and across Europe. They face the likes of Real Betis, Sevilla, and Villarreal within Spain, before taking on Manchester United, a team in red-hot form, in two Europa League Round of 32 ties.
Yet, despite this onslaught of excruciating matches to come, Barcelona have lost Ousmane Dembele to an untimely injury, a tear in the rectus femoris of his left leg, against Girona in the Catalan derby. This in turn ends up creating a massive tactical headache for Xavi, who will now have to compensate for Dembele’s unpredictability and technical quality with some other tactical setup and/or player.
One such scenario that is being broadly reported is that Gavi, Barcelona’s own prodigious self-developed youngster, and Golden Boy winner, be the one to replace Dembele and become the starting winger on the left-hand side, as Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha fill in the other available attacking slots within the frontline.
Dembele will continue to be missed due to his excellent chance creation, ability to carry the ball to goal and slice past opponents with ease. However, Gavi himself is no slouch. Possessing innate tenacity and high levels of technical ability, the youngster is nothing short of a top player. His own qualities, while different to those of the Frenchman, are at a level where they can contribute significantly to the team’s benefit.
Other alternatives to Gavi include using either Ansu Fati or the returning Ferran Torres to fill in the left-wing spot. However, reports suggest it will be Gavi who fills in instead. Angel Alarcon is also a potential shout, but his inclusion seems rather unlikely as a starter given his lack of league action within the First team.