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Pjanic has chance to impress for Barcelona against Atletico

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The midfielder should make his first La Liga start

FC Barcelona v Dynamo Kyiv: Group G - UEFA Champions League Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Miralem Pjanic looks set to finally make his first La Liga start of the season on Saturday for Barcelona in a crucial fixture against Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

The midfielder’s career at the Camp Nou has yet to really get going after his summer move from Juventus. His arrival was delayed due to a positive Covid-19 test, and he didn’t make his first start until late October in the 5-1 win over Ferencvaros.

FC Barcelona v Ferencvaros Budapest: Group G - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Pjanic has gone on to start in all three of Barca’s Champions League outings, but his four La Liga appearances have all come off the bench, meaning he’s only played 303 of Barca’s 900 minutes in La Liga. Yet he looks certain to get the nod on Saturday with Sergio Busquets ruled out with a knee injury.

Ronald Koeman is expected to start Pjanic and Frenkie de Jong in midfield at Atletico in Barca’s first game back after the international break. Both midfielders have been busy over the last couple of weeks, playing in all three of their nation’s fixtures and even coming up against each other in a 3-1 win for the Netherlands over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

UEFA Nations League qualifier”The Netherlands v Bosnia and Herzegovina” Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

Saturday’s game now represents the perfect chance for Pjanic to try to force his way into Koeman’s starting XI. Busquets has hardly impressed in the early weeks of the season, and a recent poll by Mundo Deportivo showed 85% of fans thought Pjanic should be De Jong’s midfield partner rather than the Spain international.

Pjanic has already made it pretty clear he’s not too satisfied with the way things have been going since he joined in an interview with Canal Football Club, insisting he wants to leave his mark on the club.

“Today, I am at FC Barcelona, ​​the biggest club in the word. I always dreamed of playing here. But today I can’t just be happy to be there, I want to leave an imprint, and I hope I will have the opportunity to make that happen. I want to win the biggest titles that exist in football, and today it’s my goal: to be among the best.”

The 30-year-old now has the perfect opportunity to make that happen. A win for Barca on Saturday will see them move to within just three points of Atletico Madrid and provide real momentum ahead of a busy run of fixtures between now and the end of the year.