Xavi Hernandez

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez is still not able to rely on the front three that he had planned to at the start of the season.

So far this campaign, the most commonly selected attacking trio up front has been Ousmane Dembele, Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha. At least until the past week, when the Brazilian has been dropped for Gavi and Franck Kessie as Xavi looked to reinforce the midfield.

Sport say that Xavi’s original plan in preseason was that Ansu Fati would be the starting forward on the left side of attack. However the recovery of the Spanish starlet has been slower than expected and even now, nearly three months into the season, Ansu is still not at full speed.

Theoretically, he was the perfect foil for Lewandowski and would have provided more threat in the box than Barcelona are currently having. The Blaugrana are becoming increasingly reliant on the Polish striker for goals.

The concern would be whether Ansu can make it to full speed. The forward himself has been going slower than expected, something which has been seen as a necessity as he tries to avoid another serious injury. So far this season, Ansu has just three starts and has not completed 90 minutes yet.

Some fear that Ansu might not make it back to the level of fitness or acceleration he was previously at. After missing almost a year of football at such a young age, for the second time in his career, it is not yet certain how his body will respond.

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