Los jugadores, con Pep Guardiola / FOTO: ARCHIVO FCB.

What is the best use to make of your squad ahead of a cup final? How much time should each player be given on the pitch? A review of the last four league matches played by FC Barcelona (Rayo, Málaga, Espanyol and Betis), in which there was nothing of major importance at stake, Guardiola has given chances to as many as 21 different members of his squad.

Messi and Mascherano unrested

Only two players have appeared throughout all four matches, namely Leo Messi, who was chasing the leading goalscorer title, and Javier Mascherano, who was almost indispensable with so many problems in defence. Also featuring prominently were Pedro (351 minutes), Keita (335) and Adriano (316), who were in the starting eleven against all of Rayo, Málaga, Espanyol and Betis.

Time for everybody

Guardiola was clearly considering chances everyone he had available, although he also had cover for injuries to think about. Xavi, Piqué and Alexis would all have probably played more under normal circumstances, while Cuenca, Pinto and Puyol have also missed games for different reasons.

Meanwhile, players like Iniesta, Cesc and Alves, who played a huge part in the season, have been given the chance to get some rest, evidently with the cup final on May 25 in mind, while the games have also provided the opportunity for players like Afellay, Cuenca, Tello and Bartra to get some valuable momentum going.

In total, 21 players have appeared in the four Barça line-ups, the ideal way to guarantee that everybody is ready for the final challenge of the season.


Last four games in minutes

360 minutes - Messi and Mascherano
351 minutes – Pedro
335 minutes - Keita
316 minutes – Adriano
270 minutes - Pinto
252 minutes – Busquets
247 minutes - Puyol
213 minutes - Montoya
180 minutes – Thiago
174 minutes - Alves
162 minutes – Iniesta
115 minutes - Cesc
93 minutes - Xavi
90 minutes – Valdés and Piqué
80 minutes - Alexis
90 minutes – Afellay and Cuenca
42 minutes – Tello
32 minutes - Bartra

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