The international break is finally over, and Barça is back in action. The string of testing fixtures to start the campaign continues as the Catalans travel to the Coliseum now. Ronald Koeman’s side faces a tough away trip against José Bordalás’ team. Here’s the preview of the match between Getafe and Barcelona.
Date and kick-off time: Saturday 17 October 2020, 21:00 CET
Stadium: Coliseum Alfonso Pérez
Competition: La Liga, matchday 6
Referee: Cesar Soto Grado
The new La Liga campaign got off to an exciting start before the international break. Despite last season’s woes, Barça started their campaign with two thumping wins and got a well-deserved draw against a formidable Sevilla side. While the first two games saw a free-scoring Barcelona, the third game against a well-drilled Sevilla showed a few cracks and deficiencies of the new system.
Now, the Catalans face yet another stern test in the form of Getafe. The Madrid based side have been one of the most consistent teams in the league since gaining promotion a few seasons ago. They have, however, had a mixed start to the season, winning twice, drawing once and losing once in the four games they have played.
While the Blaugranas have crunch fixtures lined up one after the other in a tight schedule, the Azulones have had ample time between matches. Getafe also have all their players fit with the international break helping them to get back to match fitness. Whereas for Barcelona, the injury list remains long with Jordi Alba out for some time.
Both the sides are on the same points with Barça having played a game less. With no pressure of fixture congestion from European games, Getafe can consistently play their best eleven every matchday. The Catalans, on the other hand, will be averaging a game every four days and resting the players is a necessity. Many first team starters have played more than 180 minutes for their National team and rotations seem more than inevitable at this point.
What to expect from Getafe?
José Bordalás has been a revelation at Getafe. Since getting promoted, they have consistently finished in the top ten, close to or in the European spot. The Spaniard won the Miguel Muñoz Trophy for the best manager in the 2018-19 season helping Getafe finish fifth, their best position in history. Bordalás has managed almost a dozen teams over the last three decades in and around the Spanish leagues. With each passing year, his ideology becomes clearer.
Getafe, under Bordalás, have almost always been set up in a solid 4-4-2. The Madrid outfit is known to have extreme energy levels, pressing relentlessly. The physicality and aggression of the team are unmatched. Their strengths lie without the ball as they maintain an excellent shape obstructing the opposition attack. Once they get the ball, they instantly start their counter-attack by pinging long balls to the wings or to their quick forwards.
“Getafe have been doing a lot of positive things over the past few seasons. They are a winning team, and they have reached Europe which is a fantastic achievement.”Ronald Koeman
Most of their attacks come via transitions and crosses from the wings. Understandably they are less efficient with the ball, and they prefer to let the opposition have it, trying to cover all empty gaps on the pitch.
Getafe are not missing any players due to injury or suspension and might field their best eleven. Former Barça player Marc Cucurella will start on the left side of the midfield four for Getafe with the dynamic Allan Nyom on the other side. Cucho Hernandez and Jaime Mata should start up front, with Angel Rodriguez likely to come off the bench like in the previous game between the two. The backline for the hosts will remain the same, with Djene, Xabier Etxeita retaining their place in the heart of the defence, and Mathias Olivera and Damian Suarez providing width from the back.
What to expect from Barcelona?
Ronald Koeman has clear ideas and a specific system in mind, and he is trying to implement it to its full capabilities. From the first few games, the fans have got an idea about the players who are in the eleven and first subs plan of the Dutchman. Although the defence is stretched thin, Koeman is not afraid to make attacking substitutions. While his system of 4-2-3-1 works against teams who try to press and not stay in their own half, it has its own flaws.
Against Sevilla, Barcelona struggled to get the ball out while playing from the back. Julen Lopetegui’s side pressed Barça very high, marking both the CDMs leaving little passing options for Neto and the centre-backs. Sevilla took advantage of this and created many chances only for them to miss the final pass or fluff the shot. Against similarly high energy, high pressing team, Barça must be careful not to get caught playing from the back.
❗Official — The squad list to take on Getafe. pic.twitter.com/wcdSvrdHLI— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) October 16, 2020
One other issue with the system is the lack of numbers in the midfield. With four attackers and the full-backs up the pitch, only two midfielders remain trying to sweep off the loose balls and preventing counters. Sergio Busquets is still adjusting to the role of double-pivot, and the understanding between him and Frenkie de Jong has not been up to the mark.
Looking on the bright side, Sergiño Dest could make his first start for Barça on the left side of defence. Despite Junior Firpo getting the green light, the American could make the eleven as the Spaniard is yet to acquire complete match fitness. Ansu Fati could be rested considering the fixtures coming up with Ousmane Dembélé likely to get a start for the first time under Ronald Koeman.
Previous games: LWDW
Real Sociedad 3–0 Getafe | La Liga
Getafe 3–0 Real Betis| La Liga
Deportivo Alaves 0–0 Getafe | La Liga
Getafe 1–0 Osasuna | La Liga
Position in La Liga
7 points in 4 games
2 win, 1 draw and 1 loss
4 Goals Scored, 3 Goal Conceded
+1 Goal Difference
Previous games: DWWWW
Barcelona 1–1 Sevilla | La Liga
Celta Vigo 0–3 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 4–0 Villarreal | La Liga
Barcelona 1–0 Elche | Joan Gamper Trophy
Barcelona 3–1 Girona | Club Friendly
Position in La Liga
7 points in 3 games
2 wins, 1 draw and 0 losses
8 Goals Scored, 1 Goals Conceded
+7 Goal Difference
Last 5 meetings
Barcelona 2–1 Getafe | La Liga, 19/20
Getafe 0–2 Barcelona | La Liga, 19/20
Barcelona 2–0 Getafe | La Liga, 18/19
Getafe 1–2 Barcelona | La Liga, 18/19
Barcelona 0–0 Getafe | La Liga, 17/18
• Barcelona are undefeated in their last 17 matches against Getafe in all competitions.
• The Blaugrana’s last loss at the Coliseum came nine years ago.
• Barcelona have won their last 4 away matches (LaLiga).
• Getafe have failed to score in 5 of their last 7 matches (LaLiga).
Team news and possible line-ups
Suárez · Dakonam · Etxeita · Olivera
Nyom · Maksimovic· Arambarri · Cucurella
Mata · Cucho
Coach: José Bordalás
“Koeman is using the 4-2-3-1 formation and there’re other aspects that have changed. Barça continue to have great individuals and now are a more vertical, dynamic and doubly dangerous team.José Bordalás
Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Marc-André ter Stegen (Tendon), Jordi Alba (Hamstring)
Roberto · Piqué · Ronald Araújo · Dest
Frenkie de Jong · Busquets
Griezmann · Coutinho · Dembélé
Coach: Ronald Koeman
Barcelona’s congested fixture list for the month starts with Getafe away. Despite having never lost a game there in nearly a decade, Bordalás’s side is not to be taken lightly. The match will provide additional context on how the Blaugrana attack thrives against a low block and a physically brutal side. Ronald Koeman would want to start the week with a win in preparation for the El Clasico the next weekend. José Bordalás, on the other hand, would love for his defence to face one of the best attacks in the league and remain unscathed.
Barça Universal Prediction: 1-3 win for the Catalans.
Predicted Barcelona lineup against Elche
The Copa del Rey game was an eye-opener in ways unimaginable. On the one hand, it brought some amazing takeaways. One such was the performance of Ronald Araujo, who has now not been dribbled past in his last 10 appearances.
At the same time, however, it bright to light some worrying signs. The youngsters given a chance failed to grab it tightly. The finishing was beyond poor. What more can be said of a night where the Catalans failed to score two penalties. At the end of the day, it once again required two assists from Pedri and a moment of brilliance from Dembele to take the Catalans home.
Barcelona’s tenure away from the Camp Nou goes on as they now move to the Estadio Martinez Valero. Ronald Koeman’s side now faces Elche, the 18th placed side in the Spanish top tier. Here is how Barcelona can lineup against Elche, as Ronald Koeman prepares yet another game with an unstable XI.
After a deserved rest in the Copa del Rey, Marc-Andre ter Stegen will be back in duty for the Blaugranas. The German was absolutely stellar for his side in the Super Cup and will look to produce more of his magic.
Ronald Araujo’s growth as a defender can just be described as meteoric. The trajectory of the young defender is mindblowing, as he continues producing 10/10 performances game after game. He will be in the heart of defence on the night, with Clement Lenglet by his side.
Sergi Roberto and Sergino Dest are both very close to their respective returns. However, we are likely to see Oscar Mingueza get a successive start at Right-back against Elche. The Spaniard has been solid in defence, and that is all is expected from a part-time full-back.
Junior Firpo started the game against Cornella but contributed very little. Hardly anything to convince the manager. That said, Jordi Alba, himself is coming off a terrible performance in the final of the Super-cup. The Spaniard will undoubtedly start, but will he impress?
Sergio Busquets will start the night as the defensive midfielder in the 4-3-3 setup. Though maybe not his best, his performance has seen a massive spike since the formation change. He will be a crucial factor on the night, given Jorge Almiron’s rather attack-minded setup.
Frenkie de Jong has been by far the most consistent midfielder for Barcelona, and his ability to decide games is finally getting the limelight it deserves. Just over the last month, the Dutch protege has grown in leaps and bounds. He will be a crucial part of the team on Sunday.
As one talks of prodigies, Pedri is the next biggest name to pop up. Coming on as a substitute, the youngster contributed to both of Barcelona’s goals in extra time, almost single-handedly setting up the second. Pedri is wise beyond his years, and it doesn’t take more than the naked eye to see that he is something special. He will round up the midfield for the League game.
Lionel Messi continues to serve his ban and misses the trip to Elche. That said, the onus is once again on Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Greizmann to step up. The French duo is expected to start, on the left-wing and right-wing respectively.
Dembele was the man who made the difference in the cup game. The ease with which he nets bangers doesn’t quite match his inability to finish chances on a platter. He will be looking to make the most of his chance to impress in the hope he can bag a contract extension soon, and end all rumours of his departure.
Martin Braithwaite will round up the starting XI. Amidst all the confusion, the Dane continues to work at his highest rate to contribute to the team. Though his quality can be doubted, his commitment cannot. He netted the second goal against Cornella in a neat fashion. Once again, he hopes to be on the scoresheet on Sunday.
Griezmann · Braithwaite · Dembele
Pedri · Busquets · de Jong
Alba · Lenglet · Araujo · Mingueza
Konrad de le Fuente impressed mightily in his time on the field against Cornella. His performance will surely seed the possibility of his getting more minutes in the League.
Riqui Puig could have made so much more of his chance to impress, but just couldn’t show his magic on the night. However, his quality off the bench cannot be doubted. It is a real possibility for him to see minutes on the night.
Miralem Pjanic dictated the midfield neatly in the previous game. He could feature towards the latter half of the game in place of Sergio Busquets.