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With Sergi Roberto and André Gomes Injured, It’s Carles Aleñá’s Chance

The Barcelona B midfielder is full of potential

International Champions Cup 2016 - Leicester City v Barcelona Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images

Here’s the bad news: Sergi Roberto and André Gomes are injured. And here’s the silver lining: Carles Aleñá can now get more chances.

Roberto and Gomes were hurt during FC Barcelona’s 0-0 draw with Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League.

Roberto will be out for five weeks with a hamstring strain while Gomes has a thigh injury that will keep him out 3-4 weeks.

Aleñá has played one match for the senior team this season, a win over Real Murcia in the Copa del Rey. He's also played 11 matches for Barcelona B, playing every minute and scoring an impressive 5 goals and assisting another.

The 19-year-old La Masia product is seen as one of the biggest prospects for the Blaugrana, though he has not really figured into Ernesto Valverde’s rotation plans. That could soon change.

Valverde still has Paulinho, Ivan Rakitić, Denis Suárez, and Andrés Iniesta at his disposal, and hypothetically Arda Turan and Rafinha as well. Still, Aleñá could start picking up minutes

(Turan hasn’t gotten any minutes, and it looks like Valverde doesn’t want him at all. Meanwhile, Rafinha has been injured for almost 250 days so a return to full fitness probably won’t come until after the winter break.)

Speaking of which, fans of Denis may get to see him a bit more in midfield as well. He did start against Olympiacos.

Roberto had played mostly as a right-back, so it will be interesting who will back up Nelson Semedo. Aleix Vidal has played there this season, but not convincingly. He’s been out lately with an injury, though it was said not to be serious.

Sergi Palencia, Barcelona B’s highly-touted right-back, had been injured since August, but he played his first game last weekend. It will be interesting if he’s physically fit enough to go into the first team. He did give away a penalty in Barça B’s 1-1 draw with Sevilla Atlético.

Looking at other B team midfielders, Oriol Busquets (who like his namesake Sergio Busquets plays as a pivote) already has received a call up to the senior squad, though he hasn’t played, and there’s also the option of Palmeiras loanee Vitinho.

There’s also winger Jóse Arnáiz, who impressed against Real Murcia, scoring a goal on his debut for the senior team. After all, Roberto and Gomes have been known to play as wingers. Arnáiz could take some of those minutes, freeing Denis to play more as a midfielder.

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