A new game, a new challenge in defence, the line which the fans believe is the weakest part of the team after the number of goals conceded – 23 in 16 games. Against Getafe, with Mascherano banned, Pique is likely to come back into defence and the question will be over who partners him. The options are Bartra, Vermaelen and Mathieu. Until now, Pique has paired with the others apart from Vermaelen.
They have not played together at all this season. They did so twice in preseason, with one goal let in against Manchester United and two against Fiorentina, in 12 minutes. If they play together on Saturday, it will be Luis Enrique’s 7th centre-back combination.
This is the option most used with least goals. Three games, Las Palmas, BATE and Eibar. Two goals conceded, in the league fixtures. A more solid combination, with the best results of the three available options.
Another partnership that has had a few opportunities, playing together on three occasions, but they’ve conceded goals in each. Roma (1-1), Sevilla (2-1), Rayo Vallecano (5-2). Five in three games. Lucho has only played the Frenchman as a central defender in these games – he’s not worked with any other centre-back.
These are Lucho’s defensive pairs so far this season:
Mascherano-Piqué: 4 games (10 goals conceded)
Vermaelen-Mascherano: 3 games (0 goals conceded)
Mathieu-Piqué: 3 games (5 goals conceded)
Bartra-Piqué: 3 games (2 goals conceded)
Vermaelen-Bartra: 2 games (4 goals conceded)
Mascherano-Bartra: 1 games (1 goal conceded)
The pairs we haven’t seen yet: