Ronald Koeman was tipped to make changes to his Barcelona team to face Getafe in La Liga on Saturday at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez and has not disappointed.
Ousmane Dembele and 17-year-old Pedri are in the starting XI for the first time this season with Philippe Coutinho and Ansu Fati surprisingly dropping out.
Clement Lenglet returns in central defense after suspension, while Sergino Dest makes his full debut for his new club after signing from Ajax in the summer transfer window.
The American comes in for the injured Jordi Alba who did not make the matchday squad. The changes also mean that Uruguay international Ronald Araujo drops down to the bench
Here’s a look at the Barcelona starting XI:
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 17, 2020
The Catalan giants are back in action after the international break hoping to return to winning ways after dropping points at home to Sevilla in a 1-1 draw last time out.
Barcelona’s other La Liga games so far, against Villarreal and Celta Vigo, have ended in wins and they have a strong record at Getafe. The Blaugrana have not lost at the Coliseum in La Liga since 2011.
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Koeman Warned By Griezmann
Griezmann retains his place in the team despite a slow start to the season and will be under pressure to perform after being handed something of a warning by Koeman in his pre-match press conference.
The Dutch coach responded to comments made by Griezmann after he scored in France’s win over Croatia. The forward said Les Bleus’ boss Didier Deschamps “knows where to play me” after he featured in a central role.
Koeman has tended to use Griezmann out wide on the right and made it clear he had not qualms about keeping him on the right side of the attack.
“Everyone has the right to say whatever he wants. I spoke to Antoine yesterday because I wanted to, not because of what he said.
“I told him I want the best for the team and I know he can play on the right side and other positions. It’s up to each player to find his own best performance.
“I won’t ask a player to play a role far from what he is used to, and I’m not doing it with Griezmann because he can play on the right. I understand that maybe there are positions he prefers, but we can’t play with two players in the role of the 10.”
Griezmann has yet to score or assist for Barcelona in three La Liga games in 2020-21, and there will be plenty of scrutiny on the World Cup winner against Getafe.
Dest Already Knows Getafe
There will also be plenty of attention on Dest as he makes his first La Liga start for Barca, but the teenager does at least have experience of playing at Getafe with former club Ajax.
Dest was part of the Ajax team that were beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Jose Bordalas’s team in the 2019-20 Europa League. The Eredivisie team went down 2-0 at the Coliseum in a hotly-contested game that saw Dest complain after the full-time whistle.
“I can’t understand how the referee whistled for a foul every time they fell to the ground,” he said, according to Marca. “He fell for their game, it’s sad. This has never happened to me before.”
Dest will know exactly what to expect from Getafe second time around and will be hoping to make amends with his new team.