Barcelona visited the Coliseum Alfonso Perez for their fourth gameweek of the La Liga season, and like a lot of fans suspected, dropped points. Getafe won their first game against the Blaugranas since 2011, when they won 1-0, completing the prophecy by winning with the same scoreline yesterday.
The Catalan players have to pick themselves up from this, but they also have to see what they did poorly in this game to win El Clasico and the next Champions League games. Barça Universal presents the player ratings from the Culés loss at the Coliseum.
Neto was one of the few players who held their own against Getafe. Indeed, the Brazilian conceded a goal form a penalty. Still, he did save Barça on many occasions, especially in the dying minutes when Getafe were giving their all to double their lead. The former Valencia keeper was one of the few players to keep their heads above water and not drown under the Getafe offence.
Holding a shot from Blaugrana Marc Cucurella near the end, tipping a shot from a Getafe attacker in the dying minutes and putting pressure on Kenedy when he had the chance to score the dagger, Neto was decent in a side that looked lost.
Sergi Roberto: 5
After a good performance against Celta Vigo a few weeks ago, Sergi Roberto’s display against Sevilla left Culés wanting more from their La Masia graduate. At the Coliseum, Roberto was invisible in attack and not effective in defence. Once against, nearly no attack came from his side, and he couldn’t help his teammates find a way when they were chasing the game for more than half an hour.
Replaced by Riqui Puig, Roberto was far from decent and perhaps gave Ronald Koeman more reasons to start new signing Sergiño Dest in El Clasico. The Blaugrana outfit dearly missed a presence on the right especially as Lionel Messi needs the ball at his feet if Koeman wants to play him on the wing.
Gérard Piqué: 5
Gérard Piqué is usually a class defender, especially on his day, but he wasn’t great, as well as not being specifically bad. The former Manchester United defender did not make any big mistakes and tried pushing the team to victory by being vocal after Jaime Mata’s goal, but failed. While still having a decent game, Piqué tried to grab a goal or to open up the play but didn’t stand out as his team sunk in the second half, searching for that elusive equaliser. A blip by an otherwise consistent defender.
Clément Lenglet: 5
Much like his partner in defence, Clément Lenglet was far from his best. Perhaps it was Getafe’s solid line or the attackers that didn’t open as much as they used to. Still, Lenglet didn’t provide the same kind of performance that he normally proposes, especially with killer long balls that penetrate the defence easily.
The centre-back stayed back while Piqué chased the equaliser and contained the attackers well, but he still let Cucho Hernandez go through on goal, only to be saved by Neto. Again, much like Piqué, Lenglet will surely pick it up before El Clasico, and this sort of performance from these players shouldn’t be overthought.
Sergiño Dest: 7
One of the few players that showed what they are truly capable of, Sergiño Dest did not disappoint for his first start as a Culé. Playing on the left because of the fitness issue in the left-back department, Dest was a surprise as he kept bombing that left flank helping Ousmane Demélé and theu Ansy Fati by offering the wingers a solution when they were lost.
The American defender was very close to already registering his first assist for Barcelona, as his cutback to Leo Messi resulted in a shot that landed on the post. Unlucky for Barça, but also a decent display from Dest, who now looks ready to take the right side by storm once Jordi Alba comes back.
Sergio Busquets: 6.5
The Barça midfield wasn’t the one the fans saw against Villarreal and Celta Vigo a few weeks ago, but they still somehow proposed some interesting passes to a game that was otherwise dull from the get-go. Sergio Busquets, while still searching for his old form, was adequate and created some breaches in the opponents’ midfield. His natural calmness was obvious as Barcelona kept most of the ball.
Frenkie de Jong: 6
Frenkie de Jong is the reason why Barça conceded a penalty yesterday night, but he still didn’t sink against Getafe. Firstly, he was really unfortunate to give away the foul on Djené, which could have come at anyone’s cost. Second of all, he’s one of the few who kept looking for an opening with his passes and runs into the midfield.
Whether it was his pass to Ansu Fati, offside by a few millimetres, or his runs into the midfield to open the game a bit, de Jong wanted to make up for his mistake and showed great resilience. While he deserves a rating as high as Busquets’, he still made a costly mistake, resulting in a fair deduction.
Antoine Griezmann: 4.5
Antoine Griezmann sent a message to Ronald Koeman after scoring a peach of a goal against Croatia earlier this week, and the Dutchman heard him. In Koeman’s 4-2-3-1, Griezmann was initially playing in the middle, undoubtedly making Didier Deschamps smile a bit.
However, despite Griezmann being closer to home, it still didn’t fit him enough as the Frenchman possibly cost Barcelona the game by missing a great chance in the first half. Other than that, he was invisible in the attack, and Koeman got rid of him too late. Perhaps it’s the system, but the former Atletico sensation has a lot of explaining to do after such performance.
One of the biggest surprises of the start of the campaign, Pedri started his first game ever for Barcelona at the Coliseum and looked like one of the few sparks in a lost team. His dribbles, his ability to draw defender towards him, his superb awareness of his surroundings, Pedri has got it all, and he showed it against Getafe.
He displayed his quality as he opened the way for Dest to pass the ball to Messi before the Argentine smashed it on the post. He also gave a peach of a pass to Griezmann who skied his shot. Surely the best player on the pitch before leaving it, Pedri will make heads turn for the Culés this year. Making everyone forget about Philippe Coutinho’s sublime start to the season is no easy task, and Pedri surely did it.
Ousmane Dembélé: 5.5
Ousmane Dembélé started his first game in 325 days against Getafe, and the rustiness was obvious as he began the game horrifically by losing the ball 12 times in 30 minutes. Nevertheless, the Frenchman picked it up a bit and, with his dazzling dribbles, tried to find gaps between the well-drilled Getafe defence, but to no avail, unfortunately.
One of the few who tried relentlessly, he wasn’t good enough, and his substitution was justified. Naturally, Dembélé is still not at his level best and might benefit from a few games with less pressure, as he looked too cautious at times.
Lionel Messi: 7
After a week of laughs and smiles in South America, a lifeless Leo Messi came to the Coliseum and, with a bit more luck, could’ve put his team in front. Deployed on the right, Messi was not as solicited in the attack, and this is perhaps the proof to Koeman that Griezmann does not fit in his system.
The captain still opened the game on a few occasions with a shot that landed on the post and a great cross from a free-kick just missed by Clément Lenglet. He also could’ve equalised in the dying minutes of the game, but his shot was too wide to trouble David Soria.
Ansu Fati: 6.5
Philippe Coutinho: 6
Martin Braithwaite: 5.5
Fransisco Trincāo: 5
Riqui Puig: N/A
How should Barcelona line-up against Juventus?
On an eerie dark and lonely road, there lies a wounded man. Drop by drop; the blood continues to pour out of the debilitated man. Yet, the terrors don’t stop. The stones keep coming at the writhing man, without providing him a moment to recuperate. Each stone keeps getting bigger than the one preceding it. Such is the state of FC Barcelona.
After being held to a stalemate to Sevilla, the European giants went on to drop points to Getafe away. While things seemed to be normalizing, a gutting defeat at home against Real Madrid pushed them further down. But looking ahead, the tests get harder. Less than 4 days after the clash with their fierce rivals and the Catalans are already staring another herculean task. This time, it comes in the form of Italian Champions Juventus.
Barcelona and Juventus have had quite some connecting links in the past, the most recent being the swap deal of Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic. However, the two clubs have had strikingly similar summers, even in the managerial respect. Barcelona and Juventus sacked their managers immediately after their exits from the Champions League last season. While it took Barcelona an embarrassing defeat to do the same, Juventus had Sarri sacked after Lyon knocked out the Italian Champions.
Strikingly, both clubs chose to go for a club legend to return and take over the reins. The Catalans called in Ronald Koeman who had a fair bit on managerial experience under his belt. The Bianconeri, however, called up Andrea Pirlo who had close to zero experience in handling a team.
What to expect from Juventus?
Juventus currently sit fifth in the Serie A with two wins and three draws in five games. They are unbeaten so far and got a positive start to their Champions League campaign as well, against Dynamo Kyiv. One of their two wins came in the form of a 3-0 walk-over awarded to them when Napoli failed to turn up for their clash pertaining to COVID restrictions.
Pirlo promised to bring something new to a Juventus side that played a monotonous and predictable style of football. Amongst other things, the club legend emphasized attacking football with a possession-based style. He has always encouraged the players to push as high as they can, and win the ball back as soon as they lose it.
The Old Lady have played with a 3 man defence since Pirlo’s arrival. Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Danilo have been the first choice centre-backs with Matthijs de Ligt out following shoulder surgery.
With Bonucci going out injured against Hellas Verona and Chiellini too on the borderline to recovery, Piro has some massive decisions to take. Keeping in mind the weight of the match and the lack of options, Chiellini might indeed be rushed back to fill the defence alongside Demiral and Danilo.
Apart from the 3 man defence, the rest of the structure has varied with the opposition and the options. Over the season, Pirlo has experimented with a 3-4-2-1, 3-4-1-2 and so on. The most recent clash featured a 3-5-2 with Arthur Melo, Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot featuring in central midfield. It was rounded off by Bernardeschi and Cuadrado on the left and right flanks of the midfield. With Cristiano Ronaldo testing positive for COVID, the forward line of Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata has been preferred by Pirlo.
Pirlo has come in with a clear cut plan about his team. (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP)
Unlike the test against Real Madrid where the Catalans faced a team that loves building on the wings, Juventus will be a different story. The Italians this season have used a midfield central overload, with the wide midfielders being especially high placed. The numerical superiority in midfield will unquestionably play against Barcelona’s double pivot, putting the likes of Frenkie de Jong under intense pressure.
The midfielders are the core of the game and are instructed to build from the back. True to his words, Pirlo’s team has had a touch of Cruyffism, yet not extremist. They have preferred to hold onto the ball, especially with numerical superiority in the middle of the pitch. It is on the counter, however, that they have looked scrappy. Their attack to defence transitions have been sloppy, and this is what Barcelona will have to exploit.
How should Barcelona line-up?
Neto makes a trip back to his former club where he acted as the backup option to Gigi Buffon. This time, though, he goes as a starter for Barcelona. Coming off a strong showing against Real Madrid, he will undoubtedly start between the sticks.
In central defence, Gerard Pique’s suspension means that Ronald Araujo will get his first UCL start of the season. If anything, he has proved to be dependable so far. This is the chance to stamp his authority on a starting spot.
Araujo has been solid so far; but tomorrow presents a fresh test against Juventus. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Alongside him, Clement Lenglet will get a start. However, coming on the back of a slushy show, he will have to be wary of his spot in the team. Morata’s runs behind the lines could be a major cause of concern for the Frenchman.
Sergiño Dest made headlines for his sensational display in the Clasico. If that is anything to go by, the 19-year-old starting should be a decision Koeman makes with closed eyes. Keeping Bernardeschi quiet will be a major factor deciding the outcome of the game.
At left-back, one will expect Jordi alba to get another start. He will, however, have to ramp up his defensive stability. After all, Cuadrado has made a name for himself as a menace with immense speed and skill.
The midfield is where Barcelona completely collapsed on Saturday. That is where the first of the big changes have to come from the Dutchman. Sergio Busquets’ complacency was on visible against Los Blancos, and it is high time his starting spot is no longer undisputed.
Miralem Pjanic ought to get a start against his former club alongside Frenkie de Jong. With Philippe Coutinho out through injury, one will expect Pedri to cover the attacking midfield position. Though criticized by many, the youngster had a vital performance against Madrid and delivered despite being out of position.
Pedri – Fati will be crucial to catch Juventus up high. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)
In the attack, the one thing the Blaugranas need is pace. To catch the Bianconeri on the break, planning has to start from Fransisco Trincao on the right-wing. Complementing him on the left side will be the starlet Ansu Fati. The duo will be crucial to exploit the centrality of Juventus’ midfield and catch the high defensive line off guard.
As the central striker, Lionel Messi will round up the team as he used to at the start of the season. Though he does not function as a target man, his playmaking will be crucial if Fati is to get into scoring positions.