Barcelona vs Las Palmas: match preview
For the home side, goalkeepers Ter Stegen and Cillessen are joined in the squad announced on Saturday by outfield players Semedo, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Denis, Andrés Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Mascherano, Paulinho, Deulofeu, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes, Aleix Vidal and Samuel Umtiti. The names dropped from the list are Lucas Digne, Paco Alcácer and Arda Turan, as well as the injured Rafinha and Dembélé, plus Thomas Vermaelen who is out with gastroenteritis.
Sergi Samper, currently on loan to Las Palmas from Barça, and former culé Alen Halilovic will both missing out on a return to the Camp Nou due to injury. The big change at the visiting club has been on the bench, with Pako Ayestarán stepping in just two days ago after former boss Manolo Márquez stood down from the managerial role.
Ernesto Valverde commented on Saturday that "The characteristics of the Las Palmas players haven’t changed and Pako Ayestarán hasn’t had much time to work with them. But there is a certain element of surprise involved, although in inverted commas because not much can change in two days.”
Ayestarán himself adds that “my first training session was about groundwork, and how we’re going to play against all teams, not just Barcelona. But we’ll have to make adaptations against Barça because they’re a special team. You always have a chance, and I think we’ll have one. We need to stop them from playing their game.”
Barça will be looking to make it a perfect nine wins out of nine in La Liga and the Champions League, and extend their winning run in league games to fourteen. Las Palmas, meanwhile, have won two (against Málaga and Athletic) and lost four games so far this season, and are currently fifteenth in the table.
We have to go all the way back to 1982 to find the last instance of Las Palmas beating Barça, and even further back to 1971 for their last win at the Camp Nou. It’s a team against which Luis Suárez has an especially impressive goalscoring record. The Uruguayan has scored in all of the last four meetings, for a total of six goals against the canary islanders.