Barcelona will reportedly be without three first-team stars for their El Clasico with arch-rivals Real Madrid on Sunday (October 24). The three players are Pedri, Ronald Araujo and Ousmane Dembele, according to Spanish outlet Marca.
The Blaugrana have entered a pivotal few weeks in their bid to revive their season after a tepid start. They began this run by earning a 3-1 comeback victory against Valencia over the weekend. They will take on Dynamo Kyiv tomorrow in the UEFA Champions League (October 20) before the all-important El Clasico on Sunday.
Both clashes will be crucial for Barcelona's season. A victory against Dynamo Kyiv would help Ronaldo Koeman's side get back into the reckoning to qualify for the Champions League knockouts.
Barcelona suffered successive 3-0 defeats at the hands of Bayern Munich and Benfica in their first two matches of the tournament.
Domestically, the Blaugrana's home win over Valencia has lifted them to seventh place in the La Liga table. Real Sociedad currently lead the pile with 20 points from nine matches, five ahead of Barcelona who have played a match less. Real Madrid sit second on 17 points and have also played only eight games.
Victory over Los Blancos in El Clasico would put Barcelona a point ahead of their eternal rivals and possibly into the top four by the end of the matchweek. However, the absence of Pedri, Ronald Araujo and Ousmane Dembele could dent the Catalans' chances.
Barcelona trio Pedri, Dembele and Araujo suffering from different muscle injuries
Pedri is likely to be the biggest miss as the Spanish prodigy is the only guaranteed starter out of the three aforementioned players. However, Koeman will miss the ariel abilities and physical presence of Araujo as well as the unpredictability of Dembele.
Pedri is reportedly suffering from a second muscle injury in two months, having already missed five matches for Barcelona this season. It is worth noting that the 18-year-old played more than 70 matches for club and country last season. The fatigue from that overload could now be setting in, and Barcelona will want to give him enough time to sufficiently recover.
Araujo, on the other hand, missed the match against Valencia due to a hamstring injury picked up during the international break. It was the Uruguayan's third muscle injury since making his first-team debut last year. To avoid any relapse, Araujo is currently training alone and will likely require time to get back to full fitness.
Lastly, Dembele is yet to feature this season as he recovers from a hamstring injury he picked up in June 2021. The French winger was recently spotted in training, which indicates that his recovery period could almost be at its end. However, Dembele is unlikely to be fit for Barcelona's clashes with Dynamo Kiev and Real Madrid this week.
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Given the winger's injury history, the Catalans are also unlikely to risk playing him before he has fully recovered.