Barcelona to miss Pique’s services in Champions League clash with Man City
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique could miss out on the Champions League clash with Manchester City. The Spanish center back picked up a hamstring injury in the 3-1 La Liga defeat to Real Sociedad on Saturday.
The first leg of the last-16 Champions League tie with Manchester City will take place at Barcelona’s home, Camp Nou, but the home crowd will miss seeing their only regular center back on the field.
Pique completed the full 90 minutes of play, but was terrorized throughout the game by Real Sociedad forwards Carlos Vela and Antoine Griezmann. After the game a statement released on Barcelona’s official website announced that the 27-year-old had injured his right thigh, which will make his appearance doubtful for the match against Manchester City.
Pique is also expected to be ruled out of Spain’s squad for the friendly at home against Italy on March 5. Vicente del Bosque hasn’t announced his squad for the friendly yet, but the Spain international will most probably be omitted from the list.
“Gerard Pique will be out of action for two weeks after suffering a minor [right] thigh injury last night against Real Sociedad in San Sebastian,” the statement on Barcelona’s website read. “The Catalan center-back has featured in 33 games this season, scoring four goals. Pique also missed the game away to Betis in November with groin trouble, the same problem that lead to him being dropped as a precautionary measure for the games with Osasuna and Celta.”
It will be a race against time for Pique to be fit for the clash with Manchester City. Barcelona have to defend a 2-0 advantage following the away win at Etihad Stadium last week. Manuel Pellegrini will take advantage of Pique’s absence to field an attacking side against Barcelona.
Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino hasn’t yet revealed the replacement for Pique, but Alex Song or Sergio Busquets could be possible replacements for the center back. There is wide spread panic in the Barcelona camp. The Catalan club’s defensive failures have been more visible to their adversaries this season.
Barcelona have accumulated only 14 points in the eight games since winter break. Their abysmal defense is blamed as the primary reason behind their poor form. Therefore, Martinez is expected to field a defensive team rather than opting for Barcelona’s traditional attacking team.