Suárez, Mascherano, Busquets and Rakitic are playing almost all the minutes
The season started just 2 months ago and many players are starting to suffer from minutes' accumulation. The squad is more reduced than ever and we had never seen such a large number of injuries in FC Barcelona. This fact alerted the coaches, who suffer for the most used players' conditions.
One of the keys of success last season were the rotations. This allowed players to be fit at the end of the season. Now the big number of lows prevent players to have rest, specially the midfielders. This will be a great handicap until January, when Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal will be able to play. These are the players with the most fatigued legs.
Luis Suárez - 91% of the minutes
The only striker who has had to play almost all the minutes. He could only rest in the match vs Levante. He has no natural substitute and his mates in the forward, Messi and Neymar, have had physical problems.
His advantage is that Suárez could do the whole preseason as he didn't play Copa America, which let him be in good conditions. He is the top scorer with 6 goals, the same like Messi, and he has become a key player this season.
Pedro's goodbye and Iniesta and Rafinha's injuries mean that the only players to substitute the forwards are Munir and Sandro. The young footballers will have to do a step forward, and Suárez and Neymar will have to help him adapt well. This will be an important point when facing next 17 matches until January.
Mascherano - 91% of the minutes
Last season he had played 675 minutes so far; this season, he has already played 1,018. The defender (31) is almost playing all the matches both in Barcelona and Argentina team.
Luis Enrique trusts in him as the best mate for Piqué in the defense, but Rafinha and Iniesta's injuries plus the departure of Xavi caused that Mascherano played 3 of the 12 matches in the midfield. When playing in this position, Barcelona have lost 2 matches (Athletic in the Super Cup and Sevilla in La Liga) and won 1 (Las Palmas in La Liga).
Apart from the results, the feelings left by the player are not positive; we still haven't seen the best 'Jefecito'. He has many problems to play with the ball in the midfield and the team performs worse when Busquets is not there. When playing in the defense, he still needs to recover that speed of some years ago, which made him almost unbeatable. However, Mascherano is a guarantee of commitment and strong personality, but he will have to be careful with his physical conditions if he keeps playing some many minutes.
Busquets - 85% of the minutes
The undeniable owner of the defensive midfield has no replacement. The signing of Song or the expected promotion of Samper have not been enough to manage breaks for one of the players with more minutes played in Europe over the last seasons. He is playing everything. With Barcelona, with the Spanish National Team or wherever needed.
This season, he has only missed Spanish Super Cup first leg against Athletic and Luis Enrique has been able to replace him in the second half in three matches. He played as center midfielder due to Rafinha and Iniesta's injuries, but he showed that he shines more in his usual position.
Barcelona will have to think about who can be Busquets' substitute in order to give him some rest. Mascherano is the current solution but he is 31 and we don't know how many time he will stay in the club. There is the option of Sergi Samper, but Luis Enrique believes he is still not prepared.
Rakitic - 76% of the minutes
In his 2n season in FC Barcelona, the Croatian footballer has played 104 minutes more than last season and has not lost any match. In the beginning of the season, it seemed Rafinha could fight for his lace, but his 6-month injury changed his plans.
Furthermore, after Iniesta's injury, Rakitic will have to do a step forward in terms of playmaking. He has not scored any goal yet and the Culés are expecting him to become the leader of the midfield in the upcoming matches.
The advantage is that until the game vs Real Madrid (Nov. 21), FC Barcelona will play easier matches than the previous ones. In La Liga: Rayo Vallecano, Eibar and Villarreal and Getafe, and in Champions League the opponent will be Bate Borisov (two matches). The rest will come on January, together with the debut of Arda Turan.