Football

Both teams need the points for different reasons..

Las Palmas v Barcelona: 3 things that could shape the outcome of La Liga game

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Barcelona head off to the island of Las Palmas looking for another three points to keep them on top of the pile.

Their hosts need the win for very different reasons, stuck as they still are in the bottom three.

With games running out, the Canary Islanders need to pull away from the relegation dogfight soonest or risk a long drawn out end to the campaign.

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Having moved heaven and earth to get back into the top flight - courtesy of a goal by ex-Barca B player Sergio Araujo - to go straight back down would be a shattering experience and one that will likely take time to recover from.

That Barca's Champions League game against Arsenal falls just a few games after this could suit the hosts as Luis Enrique seeks to remain competitive in all competitions.

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Let's take a look at three things that could shape the outcome of this one.

Competitive, combative

If there's one thing guaranteed to get right up Barca's nose, it's an opponent that press high, won't allow the Blaugrana to settle into a rhythm, but also bring the darker arts to bear when needed.

Athletic Bilbao tried it, so did Malaga. Local rivals Espanyol went a little too over the top with their 'enthusiasm' in the tackle.

All three games were eventually won by the Catalans but not without a fight.

It's worth recalling too that Lionel Messi missed two months of the season earlier in the campaign because of Las Palmas' competitive spirit.

Barca can ill afford any injuries at this stage and won't appreciate a combative approach from their opponents.

That won't worry Quique Setien a jot who'll want to win at all costs.

Sporting Gijon v UD Las Palmas - La Liga

No goals

As would be obvious for a team that is struggling near the foot of the table, Las Palmas don't score enough goals.

Not only that, but in three of the last four games they haven't scored any goals.

If they can play as well as at Camp Nou earlier in the season, there isn't any reason why the hosts can't penetrate what has been shown to be a creaky defence when pressure is applied.

Indeed, in all but one of their previous meetings, Barca have either drawn or only beaten the islanders by the odd goal.

Arguably therefore, this won't be as easy as many expect.

Rotations a must

If Barca want to come away from the Emirates Stadium with a positive result then Luis Enrique has to rotate his staff here.

The game against Las Palmas will be Barca's 15th since the beginning of the year - no one in Europe has played more.

That Enrique has overseen a record-breaking unbeaten run in that time is nothing short of astonishing.

FC Barcelona v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga

With so much of the season left to play, and the business end of each competition coming thick and fast, Barca simply won't have enough left in the tank if they don't mix it up a bit now.

Just a tweak here and there, but a must in games such as this one.

Can Barcelona beat Arsenal at the Emirates? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!

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Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Barcelona
Luis Suarez
La Liga
Neymar
Lionel Messi
Football

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