Valverde refuses to risk Busquets
Ernesto Valverde showed exactly how valuable Sergio Busquets is to Barcelona by refusing to risk the midfielder against Deportivo La Coruna.
Busquets would have been suspended for El Clasico if he had picked up a booking against Depor, so Valverde kept him wrapped up safely on the bench away from danger.
It was a bit of a surprise move from Valverde, who had given little away in his pre-match press conference about Busquets, but had generally been expected to start the midfielder.
Ultimately it was a good decision by the Barca boss, the team won comfortably anyway, while the midfielder got a rare night off and should be fresh to face Madrid on Saturday.
Suarez looks sharp ahead of biggest test
This was a performance that Luis Suarez really needed ahead of the trip to the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
Lionel Messi handed him his first goal on the plate, while Sergi Roberto did the same for his second.
In between he thought he’d scored another with a clever rabona only to see it ruled out (more on that later).
Suarez looked much sharper than he has done in weeks and his goals will give him confidence ahead of what will surely be Barca’s toughest test of the Liga season so far.
Bad luck for Paco
It was a different story altogether for Paco Alcacer who lasted just 23 minutes before being forced off through injury.
The club later confirmed he will miss the next three weeks due to a muscle problem, ruling him out of El Clasico.
It’s a tough break for Paco who has looked good on the rare chances he has been given to impress, and also reduces Valverde’s attacking options.
Paulinho strikes again
Another two goals for Paulinho, who was in the right place at the right time to take his tally to six for the season.
The Brazilian continues to do the business and prove his critics wrong, and there’s absolutely no denying the contribution he has made this season to the club.
The Brazilian now has six goals and two assists for the season, making him the highest scoring midfielder in La Liga this season.
As such, it would be a real surprise if he didn’t start against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Goal-line technology is long overdue in La Liga
This is not the first time this season that Barcelona have controversially seen a goal chalked off, but let’s hope it’s the last.
Suarez’s rabona looked as though it had gone over the line, but it was a pretty tough call for the officials, as Luis shows us.
Luckily Barça will probably still win, but La Liga would become even more of a joke if this was a crucial goal not given pic.twitter.com/34dyB9TRE9— Luis Mazariegos (@luism8989) December 17, 2017
You can understand the officials can’t give the goal if they are not 100% sure but what is difficult to understand, particularly as we head into 2018, is the lack of goal-line technology in La Liga.
It’s absence has started to become a real embarrassment and the sooner it’s brought in the better.