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A game of concentration

Barcelona are keen to ensure that they aren’t distracted by their upcoming tie with Arsenal on Tuesday. Las Palmas head into the game (16:00 CET) with a number of key injuries.

A game of concentration

In a perfect world, Barcelona’s match this afternoon would be a straightforward affair. They face a Las Palmas side facing relegation, a hefty 39 points behind the league leaders. But the real opponent facing Barcelona today is overconfidence and the risk of a lapse in concentration. Luis Enrique’s side travelled to Gran Canaria for today’s game quickly and with little time to rest following Wednesday’s win over Sporting in Gijón, while a crucial clash with Arsenal at the Emirates awaits them in London on Tuesday.

Concentration is fundamental to games such as this. Las Palmas will look to take advantage of all the cards at their disposal: the kick-off time, the fact that they have more to play for than Barcelona and the narrative that suggests that the Catalans have traditionally struggled to win on their visits to the island.

Injuries will make things even trickier for the home side. Quique Setién is missing his two first-choice wingers and three of his four regular central midfielders. Ex-Espanyol wide man Wakaso, who always played well against his old club’s city rivals, is also out.

Fans welcome the travelling Barcelona squad in Gran Canaria ahead of Saturday's match with Las Palmas
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Fans welcome the travelling Barcelona squad in Gran Canaria ahead of Saturday's match with Las PalmasDIARIO AS

Interestingly, the weather on Gran Canaria has taken a turn for the worse this week. With the island looking more like a torrential rain-ridden and cold Bilbao than a sunny holiday destination, it remains to be seen how the conditions will affect the teams as the game goes on.

Barcelona will hope to keep up their winning form and distance themselves further from the chasing pack. Piqué has been rested ahead of Tuesday Champions League tie. Rakitic has travelled with the team, but it’s quite possible that Arda will feature given that he won’t play in London due to suspension. Sergi Roberto is likely to step in to replace Sergio Busquets, who is suspended.


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