Barcelona did not get off to the most auspicious of starts in La Liga against Rayo Vallecano, grinding out a 0-0 draw. This weekend things are not going to get any easier as they head to Donostia-San Sebastian to face Real Sociedad in a fixture they traditionally struggle in.
They will also be doing so without their captain Sergio Busquets, who was sent off for a second yellow in stoppage time against Rayo for an elbow on Radamel Falcao.
It means that Miralem Pjanic may well be given the opportunity to kick off his second lease of life at Barcelona as a result. Spending last season on loan at Besiktas, the Bosnian has not started a match for Barcelona since the 24th of February 2021.
Pjanic had been slated to leave the club this summer but some impressive performances in preseason have convinced Xavi Hernandez that he can be of use, causing the exit of Nico Gonzalez on loan to Valencia.
Sport say that Pjanic is highly likely to start against La Real on Sunday. Few have been able to carry out the tasks of Busquets in his absence with any success but Pjanic did a good job of playing incisive passes in preseason.
As Barcelona should be well aware though, it is one thing doing so in preseason and another during competitive matches. Coming up against the likes of Mikel Merino and David Silva, it could be a tough test for Pjanic against a team that will put pressure on him.