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Barca fail to win yet again without Jordi Alba in the starting XI

  /  autty

Barça couldn't get past Athletic at San Mames and it continued a worrying trend for the team: without Jordi Alba in the starting XI, it's tough for them to get victories.

Alba hasn't started eight matches this season: Barça have won twice (both against Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey), drawn three (the last in Bilbao) and lost three (against Leganes in LaLiga, Levante and Sevilla in the Copa).

Barça were unable to beat Tottenham at the Camp Nou when Miranda started in place of Alba, nor against Valencia in LaLiga. Alba did come on at half time when Sergi Roberto wasn't working out on that flank.

In contrast, when Alba does start, the team's record is impressive: 22 wins, 6 draws and just 1 defeat.

The Spanish full back is the only person in the first team who doesn't have a natural replacement. When he hasn't been involved, either due to suspension or injury, Valverde has played either Semedo or Roberto at left back. The coach doesn't feel Miranda is ready (he didn't make the bench against Athletic). Another new face at the club, currently with the youth side, is Ignasi Vilarrasa. But he doesn't appear to be in Valverde's immediate plans either..

Under these circumstances, you'd imagine Barça would go doing everything in their power to sign Alba to a new deal but there's barely been any movement so far. It's true that world class full backs are hard to find these days but most other elite sides have a back up option whereas Barcelona depend entirely on Alba being fit and available.

You only need to look at Real Madrid where Sergio Reguilón has emerged from the academy to be a solid squad player. And when Nacho has been called upon he too hasn't let his side down.