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La Liga: FC Barcelona vs UD Las Palmas: Key Battles

Alex Caparros/Getty Images

After the disaster of a performance against Celta Vigo this past midweek, playing newly-promoted Las Palmas at Camp Nou should be the perfect remedy - if there is such a thing - to kick off a potentially difficult week ahead. Barcelona face Bayer Leverkusen and Sevilla over the course of the coming week before the international break. Luis Enrique's men are clear favorites by absolute miles today, yet the side must retain full focus and get the job done.

A familiar face - Sergio Araujo

Sergio Araujo spent a season on loan at Barça B and he will be chomping at the bit to score against his former club at Camp Nou. Araujo has done well since joining Las Palmas in 2014, becoming one of their key forwards with 26 goals and 8 assists in 43 appearances in La Segunda last season. The Argentine scored once and assisted another in Las Palmas' 3-3 draw with Celta, then assisted both goals in a 2-0 win against Sevilla. Araujo might not be a big name player, nor has he reached that level, but he will be a key threat for the opposition. Less talented players have caused us trouble before, complacency is not an option.

We are our own worst enemy

If the team plays anywhere close to their best today, it would be 3 points in the bag and swiftly onward to the Champions League tie with Leverkusen. The start to this season has been patchy, from the Super Cup games against Athletic and Sevilla to the defeat at Balaidos. It is time for the Messi, Iniesta et al to deliver an assertive stamp of authority with a big convincing win.

A clean sheet is a must today against Las Palmas, not just because that is the aim with every match but also, now more than ever, to stem the flow of goals conceded. Leadership is badly needed in defence. Javier Mascherano should provide that as the pivote, in place of a rested Sergio Busquets. It would also be a good game for Marc Bartra to get more minutes under his belt.

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