FC Barcelona is a club that demands consistency and constant quality from its players. A failure to oblige with these demands can often be detrimental to those players’ standing within the team. However, specific factors can sometimes cause certain players to lose their edge.
One such factor that can be highlighted as having an adverse impact on performance is fatigue. Overworking and overexerting players can often lead to bad consequences. Not just bad performances, but also a more possible chance of players getting injured.
As a result, according to SPORT, Xavi Hernandez will likely rest Joao Felix against Shakhtar Donetsk. The Portuguese star was one of the most impactful arrivals at the club in recent memory. However, the quality that he showcased in the initial days following his arrival at Barça has somewhat diminished.
SPORT believes a part of this declining productivity could be the hectic schedule. Since arriving at Barcelona, Joao Felix has played 954 minutes for club and country. In just 60 days, accumulating that many minutes is likely to tire out an individual.
The 23-year-old has 3 goals to his name this season, coupled with 4 assists. These numbers grew significantly within the first few days that he spent at Barcelona. However, they have drastically slowed down in recent weeks.
Resting Felix against Shakhtar could allow Xavi to have his Portuguese forward fully rested for the upcoming match against Alaves. As per SPORT, the La Liga match is seen as holding a certain priority for now. With the league race being quite close, Barcelona cannot afford to slip up domestically.
On the other hand, La Blaugrana have won nine out of nine points in the UEFA Champions League. Another victory would ensure qualification to the Round of 16 of the Champions League. While the European competition is also quite important, Barcelona have much less room to mess up at any point in La Liga.
In terms of a replacement, the likes of Lamine Yamal, Raphinha, and Ferran Torres are all available. However, all three of these forwards are much more comfortable playing from the right wing.
Ferran Torres is the only right-footed player that could potentially come into the side. Another option would be to utilize Gavi as a false winger, a rather common system that Xavi used to rely on a lot in the past.