Ernesto Valverde Talks Barcelona Injuries Ahead of Copa Del Rey Final

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2019

Barcelona's Spanish coach Ernesto Valverde reacts during the Spanish League football match between Eibar and Barcelona at the Ipurua stadium in Eibar on May 19, 2019. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP)        (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
STRINGER/Getty Images

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde is unsure if Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho or Arthur will be available for the Copa del Rey final against Valencia on Saturday.

Nelson Semedo was added to his list of concerns after he suffered a head injury in Barca's 2-2 draw with Eibar on Sunday, which goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen missed due to a knee injury.

Per Football Espana, Valverde said:

"Semedo was taken to hospital during the game, but we are hopeful it is only a minor problem and he can return tomorrow.

"We think that Ter Stegen will be fit for the final, after the initial diagnosis was reassessed.

"With Coutinho, I do not know yet, but we allowed him an additional rest today.

"Dembele and Arthur are more difficult to make a decision on right now, particularly as Arthur has been carrying an injury for months."

Barca provided an update on Semedo on Monday:

FC Barcelona @FCBarcelona

N. Semedo has passed the tests for his head injury and has been discharged from hospital. He returns to Barcelona to continue with the protocol established in these cases and his return to training will be monitored. https://t.co/Hk0LKD5Ko3

Coutinho suffered a hamstring injury in the Blaugrana's 2-0 win over Getafe earlier in May, while Dembele was forced off after six minutes in the 2-0 defeat to Celta Vigo with a similar issue.

Arthur last played in the 4-0 UEFA Champions League defeat at Liverpool, and he has been out since with a hip problem.

It has already been confirmed that Luis Suarez will miss the final after he had surgery on his knee. 

Sports journalist Richard Martin thinks Valencia could upset the Spanish champions on Saturday:

Richard Martin @Rich9908

Starting to wonder if Valencia could beat Barça next week in Copa del Rey final. Barça always show up for finals but with their injury problems, Cillessen looking shaky and the low morale after Anfield, wouldn't be surprised if Valencia caused them some problems.

Their injuries have mounted up at an inopportune time, particularly given Valencia held them to draws in both their meetings in La Liga this season when Barca were closer to full strength.

Los Ches finished fourth in the league, and only Atletico Madrid conceded fewer goals.

With Suarez out and Dembele and Coutinho potentially sidelined too, Barca will be even more reliant on Lionel Messi.

He has enjoyed a typically excellent campaign, as ESPN's Samuel Marsden illustrated:

Samuel Marsden @samuelmarsden

Messi ends the league season involved in more goals (36 goals, 13 assists) than 12 La Liga teams, level with Villarreal on 49. Only Valencia (51), Celta Vigo (53), Atletico (55), Levante (59) Sevilla (62) & Real Madrid (63) are ahead of him.

The Argentinian also has an impressive record in the Copa del Rey. He's played in eight finals in the competition and scored in five of them.

Messi could be Barca's only reliable match-winner on the pitch on Saturday, so not for the first time, the team's success might hinge on his performance.