As the games are coming thick and fast for FC Barcelona, their players are also naturally accumulating bookings that can lead to a full-game suspension. The upcoming match for Barcelona is the crunch La Liga tie against sixth-placed Real Betis.
Real Betis is coming into the match with a mixed form, with them having enjoyed victories and suffered losses in their last few matches. Barcelona, on the other hand, are coming with their morale high as they lead the La Liga table with a 5-point gap over second-placed Real Madrid.
While a match against Real Betis is always tricky, especially when being played away from home, Xavi will have an additional headache going into this match. Four players and the coach himself are at risk of being suspended for the next La Liga match following the Betis tie, if they get a yellow card in this match. These four players are Ronald Araujo, Sergio Busquets, Gavi, and Ferran Torres.
Ronald Araujo has recently returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines and has stabilized the backline to a significant extent after having returned from injury. He has seen a majority of game time since his return, and his suspension against Sevilla can be a big blow for Barcelona’s defense.
Similarly, Sergio Busquets has also been a mainstay in the team for more than a decade now, and Xavi has set his system around him despite his physical decline in recent years. He can also be suspended for the match against Sevilla if he receives a yellow card against Real Betis, but there is cover available for his position in the form of Frenkie de Jong.
Gavi is the most likely to get a card in this match because of his relative lack of experience and fiery nature, and his suspension would also be worrisome as he can be an effective tool in breaking defenses.
Ferran Torres is also at risk of suspension. The Barcelona frontline is already short of options since the departure of Memphis Depay to Atletico and the injury to Ousmane Dembele, and his suspension can cause significant stress to Xavi in the tie against Sevilla.
Lastly, Xavi’s presence on the bench against Sevilla can also be jeopardized if he receives a yellow against Betis. This will certainly impact the morale of the bench as well as disallow the team an opportunity to change tactics and game strategy quickly according to the circumstances of the game.