Barcelona suffered yet another injury blow during Sunday's 3-1 win over Villarreal with Jordi Alba going off in the second-half with what looked like a muscular injury. The left-back was replaced by Oscar Mingueza in the 70th minute, but the extent of the knock remains unclear.

The Catalan club have been struggling with injury issues to a number of players since the start of the campaign, with manager Xavi Hernandez even resorting to sacking some members of the medical team owing to the club's poor injury record this season. The manager is already without the likes of Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele, Sergi Roberto, Pedri and Ronald Araujo.

Alba is the most recent casualty after he came off against Villarreal with Barcelona yet to give an update on the extent of his injury. Xavi confirmed after the game that the left-back was in pain during the half-time break, but was keen to continue playing, which could prove costly if the injury is worse than first feared.

Xavi Hernandez took over from Ronald Koeman after the Dutchman was sacked by Barcelona KARIM JAAFAR/AFP

"Jordi Alba already told me he was having discomfort at half time, but he wanted to stay on. He made an important effort to continue on the pitch," Xavi said, as quoted on Barca Blaugranes.

Barcelona's next game is against Real Betis on Dec 4, which should give Alba sufficient time to recover if it was just a minor knock. The La Liga club's boss will have to turn to 18-year-old Alejandro Balde if the Spain international is unable to recover in time.

Balde returned to Barcelona B for the weekend despite training regularly with the first-team. He came on as a second-half substitute in Saturday's defeat to San Fernando. The young defender has thus far made five appearances in La Liga and Champions League.

In what is some good news for Xavi, the former Al Sadd manager could have Dembele back for the game against Betis with the Frenchman back in training. The club are taking a cautious approach with the winger, owing to his poor injury record.

Ousmane Dembele
On the front foot: Ousmane Dembele set France on the way to victory with the opening goal in Kazakhstan FRANCK FIFE/AFP