It’s self-evident that one player doesn’t make a team, but when that player is one of your most important then there are obvious reasons why their absence might be to the detriment of all concerned.
Barcelona certainly haven’t done too well on the injury front lately.
Pedri has been missing for an age and once Frenkie de Jong was confirmed as another absentee for an extended period, it really was another kick in the teeth for Xavi.
Robert Lewandowski and Lamine Yamal’s troubles are also regrettable, but it’s perhaps the loss of Jules Kounde that might be the most keenly felt by the blaugranes.
The Frenchman generally goes about his business with the minimum of fuss. An understated excellence if you will.
Only when he’s not sat in his central defensive sentry will his true worth to the team reveal itself.
For example, Kounde has already made 164 progressive carries so far this season, the joint most in Europe’s top five leagues with Man City’s Ruben Dias.
164 - FC Barcelona's Jules Koundé has amassed 164 progressive carries in LaLiga 2023/24, the most of any player in the Top 5 European Leagues this season (alongside Manchester City's Ruben Dias). Gazelle. pic.twitter.com/eYvYP6cOt3— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 9, 2023
Furthermore, according to La Liga’s stats Kounde has made the most passes (703) in the Spanish top-flight this season, and also completed the most passes too (650).
Given that El Clasico is on the horizon, it’s worth dwelling on the point that Kounde’s absence will likely mean that Ronald Araujo won’t be able to continue his epic battle against Vinicius Jr.
Whilst Joao Cancelo might now be considered a shoo-in for that right-back slot, there’s no guarantee that Xavi will play him there against Los Blancos because Araujo certainly has the measure of the Brazilian.
It may be that formational changes are required by Xavi in order to compensate for Kounde’s absence, though there’ll be limitations to exactly what can be achieved if the players continue dropping like flies.
If nothing else, it will test Xavi’s resolve and his expertise as he seeks to find solutions to what’s fast becoming a real issue for the squad.
There’s little point in any of the players being rushed back either.
A Clasico loss isn’t worth contemplating but it would be preferable to losing Kounde and his team-mates for any longer than is necessary.