Barcelona travel to Coliseum Alfonso Perez for a demanding away tie as Getafe look to maintain their unbeaten record at home.
The Catalans are fresh from a 2-1 win over Villarreal at home, well aware that a win in Madrid will require a special performance.
A mid-week Champions League fixture against Inter Milan provides coach Ernesto Valverde the rotation dilemma and injury to Lionel Messi complicates the matter further.
We take a look at the talking points ahead of the weekend tie.
Time for Suarez to see the bench
Luis Suarez has struggled heavily since his knee injury from last season but Valverde has remained patient and publicly vouched for the Uruguayan. However, there are no signs of improvement and it’s just a question of when rather than if he loses his status as a starter.
The 32-year-old scored a brace against Valencia but has not produced a constructive moment ever since. Two years ago, Suarez, with his astute positioning and movement proved fruitful even when he could not register himself on the scoresheet.
But he is now a liability, rarely on the same wavelength as his team-mates and often acts as a roadblock to promising passages of play. It’s time Suarez keeps his ego aside, subjects himself to a bench role and helps the team as much as he can as a super-sub like he did against Valencia.
Valverde must consider starting Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati on either side of Antoine Griezmann. This will also allow the former Atletico Madrid man to play in a central role.
Is Alena forgotten?
Ever since the emergence of Fati from the La Masia ranks, the murmurs surrounding yet another academy product in Carles Alena have diminished.
The 21-year-old was tipped to grab a sporadic role this season before stepping up to play a bigger part. But he has not played a single minute after Barcelona’s La Liga opener. He was never injured or suspended, but he was not provided any minutes. The midfielder did not even make the match-day squad on some occasions and is now in need of minutes.
With a tough Champions League tie against Inter on Wednesday, Valverde could consider some serious rotations in midfield. Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets started on the bench against Villarreal and are likely to start against Getafe. Alena should start at the expense of Arthur, who can do with some rest before the big game on Wednesday.
Expect lots of goals
Contrary to the reputation they built last season, Getafe are far from being experts in defence. A side that conceded fewer goals than Barcelona and Real Madrid last season has already given away nine goals in six games – just two fewer than the worst defence that belongs to Valencia (11).
In their last two games, the Madrid side conceded five goals but also scored seven. They beat Mallorca 4-2 before drawing 3-3 with Valencia. Jaime Mata has already stepped on the gas, scoring three goals and registering one assist so far.
Despite their struggles and injury to Messi, Barcelona are still statistically the best attack with 14 goals. Griezmann has fit in reasonably well and Fati has shown great promise in the final third.
At the same time, Barcelona’s defence has been shambolic so far. They are conceding goal-scoring opportunities habitually and are very vulnerable at the back. Six games into the season and the Catalan side are yet to keep a clean sheet.
These facts point to the possibility of a lot of goals when the two teams lock horns on Saturday.
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