Three talking points ahead of Barcelona vs Las Palmas

Two weeks after their thrilling 3-0 demolition of Atletico Madrid, Barcelona return to action on Saturday night against one of La Liga’s most inspiring teams.

Las Palmas are in 11th place in the table after 29 matches this season. Their coach, Garcia Pimienta, is no stranger to Cruyffian football and has infused much of the same ideology into the Canaries’ style.

The result is evident on the ground. Las Palmas now have one of the most consistent brands of football in La Liga and are comfortable in possession, setting themselves up for an epic clash against Barcelona.

The last time the two teams met in La Liga, Xavi’s side needed a late penalty from Ilkay Gundogan to claim three points. Enjoying home advantage this time around, Barcelona will be hoping for a remarkable result.

Barça Universal brings you three topics to discuss ahead of Barcelona vs Las Palmas.

To turn or not to turn?

With international football occupying the final two weeks of the footballing calendar, there has been a clear discrepancy in the minutes enjoyed by different players on the team.

Players called up for selection have an extra 90 to 180 minutes in their legs, which adds to the stress of traveling across Europe for two matches.

However, the players remaining at Barcelona are unsurprisingly fresher, rested and ready to take the field ahead of the clash against Las Palmas.

Xavi Hernández will thus turn to rotate your team for tomorrow’s shock and balance the minutes of players who have been overworked in recent weeks.

At the same time, he cannot risk excessive rotation as he demands his first-choice team be in rhythm ahead of PSG’s next clash, as he insisted in his press conference.

The manager must therefore find the right balance in his workforce, and a large part of the result will depend on it.

Ilkay Gundogan has been severely overworked in recent weeks. However, Xavi confirmed that the German will be involved overnight. However, it is likely that he will be rested for the start of the clash.

Oriol Romeu could thus start alongside Sergi Roberto and Fermin Lopez in midfield.

The attack scenario is similar, with Lamine Yamal overloaded and Robert Lewandowski come back with a light blow.

Although the Pole will be involved in some capacity, there is a good chance that Vitor Roque will start at centre-forward with Joao Felix and Raphinha alongside him. Ferran Torres, who is expected to make the team, is also an option to start.

Surfing on positivity

Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid before the international break. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

The two matches before the international break represented Barcelona’s high point of the entire season.

There wasn’t much to cheer about from a Blaugrana prospect this campaign, but the matches against Napoli and Atletico Madrid have given supporters hope. I hope that the team can recover its best version and that everything does not get lost in the different competitions.

La Liga may still be out of reach for the Catalans, but the UEFA Champions League offers them a viable route to the final and a chance of winning silverware. But to reach the semi-final against Atletico Madrid or Borussia Dortmund, they must first conquer PSG.

If it was vital for Xavi’s men to enter the international break in style, it is just as essential that they return to club football with the same enthusiasm.

A strong performance against Las Palmas could thus lay the foundations for the comeback Barcelona desperately need. A balanced, confident and dynamic locker room can do wonders at the Parc des Princes.

Defensive precautions

Xavi’s team does not pose many serious injury threats with the return of club football. However, there are several players who are recovering from minor knocks and who Xavi would prefer to rest tonight.

Unfortunately, two of these affected players belong to the defense. Andreas Christensen withdrew from the Danish squad before the international break due to a minor injury and was permanently ruled out.

Ronald Araujo returned early from the Uruguay national team this week, and his early return was celebrated only to reveal he was suffering from physical discomfort. The defender, however, recovered and trained normally today.

Despite this, with a critical match coming up in the UCL, Xavi could opt to rest him for tomorrow’s match. Inigo Martinez is thus well placed to start alongside Pau Cubarsi while Oriol Romeu could take over as the team’s pivot.

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