FC Barcelona will finally welcome Pedri back to the starting lineup when they take on Alaves at the Montjuic Stadium in La Liga Sunday afternoon according to SPORT.
The Spain midfielder kicked off the 2023/2024 season with strong displays, scoring an important winner against Cadiz and starting to build an impressive attacking midfield partnership with Ilkay Gundogan who provided him with the assist that August 20 evening.
During the following week, however, he suffered a major setback when pulling up injured in training with what was later confirmed to be a right quadriceps injury.
Barca seemed to be doing alright in his absence. There was talk that ‘Pedridependencia’ (a dependence on the number 8) was no longer a thing, with Gavi providing more than ample cover alongside Gundogan.
When pivot Oriol Romeu’s form began to plummet, as Frenkie de Jong also picked up a knock that has sidelined him until now, Gundogan moved into the more defensive role but Fermin Lopez also did a good job partnering Gavi.
In recent weeks, however, losses to Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk – which were the Blaugrana’s first defeats in La Liga and the Champions League respectively – have ushered in talks of a “sporting crisis”.
Pedri didn’t make the cut for El Clasico yet finally returned for last Saturday’s away meeting with Real Sociedad where Barca also struggled before securing a 1-0 win via Ronald Araujo’s injury time header.
The Tenerife native racked up 33 minutes in Anoeta, and then 31 in Hamburg against Shakhtar.
And while he is still not deemed fit enough to play a full 90 according to SPORT, Pedri will make his first start in almost three months versus Alaves and should be able to feature for at least an hour.
With Gavi suspended and SPORT reporting that Gundogan is also likely to be rested, Pedri will probably line up with Fermin Lopez by his side as Oriol Romeu is the pivot.
Not called up by La Roja for the international break, Pedri can work on his fitness ahead of a November 25 trip to Rayo Vallecano when Xavi should also have De Jong at his disposal.