A 0-0 draw against Getafe is not how Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez would have dreamt his men to start the new season. While it is true that the Blaugrana were robbed of the win by poor refereeing on the night, one cannot overlook the unconvincing performance they put up.
As the defending champions, there is pressure on the Catalans’ shoulders to maintain a certain level. They were far from their best at Coliseum Alfonso Perez and will look to get back to winning ways on Sunday night.
Their opponents, Cadiz, won their first league outing of the season against Deportivo Alaves despite being a man down and will pose a stern test to the champions.
After all, they have posed Barcelona with several problems in recent years. Of the last six meetings between the two Spanish teams, Cadiz have won twice and drawn twice.
Barça Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Barcelona vs Cadiz.
The suspended star
The Coliseum Alfonso Perez seldom holds good memories for Barcelona. When the two teams met last weekend, events understandably escalated once again and led to a heated affair.
Getafe’s strategy on the night, as it has always been, was to play the physical game. It has come to light in recent days that Barcelona should have received a penalty against Getafe and could well have walked away with three points.
Xavi & co. will look to quickly move past the previous game, though they face a direct consequence in the form of Raphinha’s absence.
The Brazilian international earned himself a red card last weekend after an impulsive challenge at Coliseum Alfonso Perez and is suspended for two games as a result.
As it stands, Xavi has four options to replace the Selecao star – Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres, Ez Abde, and Lamine Yamal. The manager must make the right decision based on a tactical standpoint.
Purely going on form, Ferran Torres and Lamine Yamal would be the ideal options to start against Cadiz. However, Fati has also been in good touch of late, while Abde delivered a powerful performance last weekend against Getafe.
An untimely injury
Of all the players in his squad, Ronald Araujo is the last player Xavi would have wanted to lose to injury. The Uruguayan sensation is one of Barcelona’s most vital components on the field, both in terms of performance and leadership.
The Spanish tactician deployed Araujo at right-back against Getafe owing to a lack of options, especially given his decision to field Jules Kounde in central defence this term.
However, he is forced to change everything in just the second game of the campaign. With Araujo injured, Xavi has no option but to deploy the Frenchman at right-back tomorrow.
The domino of events would also appear to grant Eric Garcia a starting spot in central defence alongside Andreas Christensen. After all, Inigo Martinez is still unavailable through a chronic injury.
All eyes on Sunday will thus be on the Blaugrana defence and how they fare in the absence of Araujo. The team cannot afford any more injuries or suspensions in the department.
Indeed there is no shortage of storylines heading into Barcelona’s game against Cadiz. Perhaps the biggest one of them all is the venue of the game.
Matchday 2 brings Barcelona’s first home game of the campaign. However, it will be played in a home away from Spotify Camp Nou.
The iconic stadium is currently undergoing a massive renovation in order to establish itself as one of the state-of-the-art facilities in global football.
Xavi’s men, thus, will not have access to their fortress for the entire 2023-24 campaign. They have temporarily relocated to Monjuic and will use the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys as their foster home.
The men in garnet-and-blue have already tested the grasses of the venue in Montjuic as part of their Joan Gamper Trophy win over Tottenham Hotspur. If anything, the enthralling comeback win against the London-based side will give Barcelona confidence ahead of their first league game at the new home.
The Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys has a capacity of 54,367 but saw less than 65% attendance on the Gamper Trophy night. It will thus be interesting to see how many fans turn up at the novel location tomorrow night and the balance between home and away fans.