Barcelona have been hit with a fresh injury blow after confirming that forward Ousmane Dembele is set for a spell on the sidelines.
The Frenchman picked up a hamstring problem after coming on as a substitute at half-time of Barcelona’s 2-1 La Liga defeat to Cadiz on Saturday.
Barca confirmed the news in a statement but stopped short of confirming how much time they expect the Frenchman to miss.
Tests on Sunday morning, December 6, have shown that first-team player Ousmane Dembélé has a hamstring elongation. He will therefore not be considered for selection and the evolution of the injury will determine his availability.
Journalist Santi Ovalle has reported that Dembele’s camp are hopeful the Frenchman will only be out for approximately 2-3 weeks with his latest injury.
Dembele joins teenage forward Ansu Fati and defenders Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto on the injured list at the Camp Nou with problems piling up for coach Ronald Koeman.
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Fresh Setback for Dembele
The new setback is a bitter blow for Dembele who has endured an injury-ravaged time at Barcelona since joining from Borussia Dortmund in 2017. Yet he has enjoyed an impressive start to the 2020-21 campaign after returning from hamstring surgery.
The French forward has featured 12 times in all competitions, contributing four goals and two assists. His most influential performances have come in the Champions League where he has three goals and two assists in just four appearances.
Dembele will now certainly miss Barca’s next game against Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday at the Camp Nou. The Frenchman scored in Barca’s 2-0 win over the Serie A champions in Turin in the reverse fixture.
Barca’s Problems Piling Up
The news is more bad news for Koeman after Saturday’s damaging defeat at Cadiz that has left the Catalan giants a massive 12 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid in Spain’s top flight.
Their tally of 14 points from 10 games also means it’s the club’s worst start to a La Liga season for over 30 years which will serve to increase pressure on Koeman.
14 – Barcelona have earned just 14 points in their opening 10 LaLiga games this season, their lowest tally at this stage since 1987/88 season (13, three points per win), the previous campaign to Johan Cruyff arrival Barcelona as manager. History. pic.twitter.com/gphAEr5EEg
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 5, 2020
Dembele’s absence will reduce Koeman’s attacking options which have already been weakened by the loss of Fati. The Dutch coach can use Philippe Coutinho or Pedri in a wide position but both players prefer a move central role.
Summer signing Francisco Trincao could get a chance to stake a claim while Dembele is out injured and is a natural winger. The 21-year-old is still waiting to make his first La Liga start for Barca and has only been used as a substitute so far in the league.
It’s been a different story in the Champions League for Trincao. He’s made the starting XI three times and will be hoping he can now force his way into Koeman’s thinking on a regular basis.
Barca’s next match against Juventus is followed by a run of three home La Liga fixtures before Christmas against Levante, Real Sociedad, and Valencia. Saturday’s shock defeat to Cadiz means Koeman’s men can ill-afford any more slip-ups and need to go on a strong run.