Why Carles Alena is better off with Barca B

After losing to Cadiz on Friday and Albacete on Tuesday, Barca B find themselves in a compromising spot in the Segunda Division table in 19th place and in the relegation zone. Achieving promotion back to the Spanish second division was a tremendous accomplishment for the team last season, but following that up with relegation certainly negates most of those positives.

While Carles Alena might have been seen as a possible injection of youth in the first team at the start of the preseason, his two appearances in the Copa del Rey have so far been his contribution under Ernesto Valverde this campaign. Yet, with Paulinho scoring goals, Sergi Roberto's ability to play in the middle and the few minutes left over for even a talent such as Denis Suarez, it doesn't appear that are many opportunities for the young Spaniard. In fact, while there may be a great reliance on him in the first team in the future, it's Barca B that desperately need him at the moment.

An injury to his midfield partner Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta at the start of the season coupled with long-term injuries to Wilfrid Kaptoum and Ferran Sarsanedas have the middle of the field lacking any sort of depth. Add the lack of form of Brazilian loanee Vitinho and you have a recipe for a ton of pressure being heaped on the shoulders of Alena.

Alena is tied with Jose Arnaiz for the team lead with six goals in 19 appearances, but it's the eye-test that shows his vital role to the squad. Most recently against Cadiz, a squad that look to have the quality and the fan base to be in La Liga next season, he was one of the only players in the Blaugrana shirt that didn't look overwhelmed by a superior opponent.

Figuring out the best place for a youth player is always a tough task, but it seems that between sitting on the Barcelona first team bench and starting in the Segunda Division, Alena is in the right spot. One could argue that 22-year-old Sergi Samper, now on his second failed loan in consecutive years, first to Granada and now at Las Palmas, would have done better to stay with Barcelona and continue to hone his game in the Segunda Division. It may be telling that Samper's time at Barca B matched up with the team's recent time in the 3rd division of Spanish football, and fortunately Alena is not suffering the same fate.

Francesc and Dan discussed the purpose of Barca B and some of the Juvenil A players that are breaking into the team in the latest edition of 'The Barcelona Podcast'.

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