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First challenge of 2011

Barça will start 2011 without Messi, Puyol or Piqué against Levante, three of the most regular members of the first team.

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31 December 2010 03:20 PM

by

Anna Segura

Barcelona (FCB).- Guardiola has given Leo Messi permission to extend his holiday until January 1 or 2, while Gerard Piqué is suspended. To make matters worse, Carles Puyol is injured, but Barça have constantly shown recently that they have enough strength in depth to cover for such misfortunes.


Doing without Messi

Guardiola rarely leaves Messi out of his plans, but has taken a gamble for the first league game of the new yea. However, in the three games without the Argentinian this term, against Sporting, Athletic Club at San Mamés and the cup game with Ceuta, the team has managed to win regardless.

Piqué missed six games

The Catalan centre back was given his fifth yellow at Cornellà-El Prat and therefore sits the next game out. But Barça managed without him in both games against Ceuta, and also the game with Vila-real and the drubbings of Real Sociedad and Almeria. The only loss without Piqué was at the Sánchez Pizjuán in the first leg of the Super Cup against Sevilla.

Tenth game without captain

Barça have won every game with Puyol in the team this year, while in games he has missed there has been a mixed bag of results. They lost to Hercules and Sevilla in the Super Cup, and drew with Mallorca and then Athletic Bilbao in the cup, but did win against Racing, Rubin, Ceuta and Sevilla in four different competitions.

 

BARÇA BITE

Arsenal thrashed without Puyol or Piqué

Since Guardiola has been in command, Barcelona have only played 12 games without either of the main centre backs in the team. The most famous case of the team managing quite nicely without either was against Arsenal last season. With them both suspended, Màrquez and Milito were called in, and Barça walked over the Gunners to the tune of a 4-1 win.

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  • Barça Team players celebrate a goal against Bilbao in the last Spanish League game (by FC Barcelona)

  • Barça Team players celebrate a goal against Bilbao in the last Spanish League game (by FC Barcelona)