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Pedro Rodriguez or Alexis Sanchez - Who is Barcelona's Starter?

Lionel Messi and Neymar will almost certainly take up two of the three spots available in attack, which leaves Pedro and Alexis one position to fight over. Who has earned the right?

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

It's crazy to think about, but Barcelona's joint-highest goalscorer this season - Pedro Rodriguez, who is tied with Lionel Messi - is not necessarily a starter.

While Messi is unquestionable at center-forward, and Neymar is a guarantee on the left, the right wing remains unsettled. Alexis Sanchez has played more minutes this season than Pedro, and until further notice, seems to be slightly ahead on the depth chart.

Of course, both will get their chances given rotation, injuries, and suspensions, but who will be the man in key games? So far, that has been Alexis.

He started the matches against AC Milan, arguably the toughest Champions League games so far. Pedro was subbed in and played a total of 15 minutes across 2 games.

Alexis also started the second leg of the Supercup against Atletico Madrid, with Pedro replacing him on 65 minutes. Both started the first leg, but it was Pedro who was replaced by Neymar on 59 minutes while Alexis played the full 90.

In El Clasico against Real Madrid, neither started (with Cesc Fabregas preferred at center-forward and Messi on the right wing), but it was Alexis who played 20 minutes, scoring a beauty, while Pedro played only 6 minutes.

The pattern is clear: in big games, Alexis has been preferred to Pedro. Thankfully for Barcelona, Alexis has returned that trust with good performances for the most part, especially against Real Madrid.

But considering Pedro's killer instinct in front of goal - he has the best conversion rate of anyone in the top 5 leagues in Europe - can he remain on the bench?

Pedro was ludicrously good in the last league game against Getafe. With Barca trailing 0-2 in the first half, Pedro scored a hat trick in a blink of an eye to make it 3-2. And that's not counting his other goal, wrongfully disallowed, or the fact that he won a penalty which Fabregas converted.

Yes, Alexis has his share of clutch goals but can you really keep a force of nature like that on the bench? That's the dilemma coach Tata Martino faces.

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