This weekend, Barcelona will finally return to action and changes are in sight. According to the latest reports from Alfredo Martínez, Ronald Koeman is expected to rotate against Getafe. But what are his options on the bench and who could get a big chance on Saturday?
It goes without saying that a clash against such strong opposition away from home won’t be easy. Barcelona have already dropped points once in the opening couple of games so they have to be at their best. However, despite there being no club football during the break, some of the players are undoubtedly fatigued due to international responsibilities.
Lionel Messi, for instance, has played two full matches with Argentina, including an exhausting clash against Bolivia at the Hernando Siles stadium. For that reason, Koeman is expected to rotate against Getafe. So let’s see what are his options in the first place.
This is likely the area where there’ll be the least changes. Of course, with Jordi Alba injured and Junior Firpo also not training with the squad, Sergiño Dest should be starting on that left-back position. But apart from that, it’s likely we see familiar faces across the rest of the backline.
Clément Lenglet and Gerard Piqué should both be given starts in the heart of the defence while Sergi Roberto is essentially the only option for the right-back spot. With Marc-André ter Stegen still recovering, expect to see Neto between the sticks too.
There’s only ever place for just two real midfielders on the pitch in Koeman’s 4-2-3-1 system. Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong have been the chosen ones so far and that’s unlikely to change. Miralem Pjanić could be a real option to give Busi a bit of rest but that is certainly still under a question mark.
As we now know, the Bosnian had to be subbed off in his latest national team match and is said to still be feeling some pain in his shoulder. This, of course, could be problematic for Barcelona. Of course, there are still options like Riqui Puig, Carles Aleñá or even Pedri but so far, the double pivot position has been taken by other players.
This is undoubtedly the most interesting area for Koeman if he is indeed to make any changes. So far, we’ve seen the trio of Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati chosen to start. However, as we’ve already mentioned, maybe resting the Argentine could be a good idea.
Griezmann, despite scoring a brilliant goal against Croatia the other day, hasn’t been performing well for Barcelona. This is an area where the coach can get creative. The likes of Francisco Trincão, Pedri and of course, Ousmane Dembélé would love to get a shot in the team.
It is also possible to give Fati a rest but he’s been in blistering form and taking him off might be too detrimental for the squad. But Koeman certainly has options and if he really wants to spice things up, there’s always Martin Braithwaite on the bench as well.
As things currently stand, the Dane is Barça’s only out-and-out striker in the team.