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Three talking points ahead of Barcelona vs Getafe | La Liga GW 26

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Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona’s title defence in La Liga has not gone the way they would have hoped for ahead of the season. Regular hiccups along the way have left the team eight points behind Real Madrid with 13 games to go, making Los Blancos the favourites to take home the championship.

The Catalans, after all, began dropping points right from the first matchday of La Liga. On the night, they faced Getafe at Coliseum Alfonso Perez and managed just a tame 0-0 draw on the night.

Tomorrow, the two teams meet again, six months after their goalless draw, and the Catalans will hope for a different result this time around. After all, they will have the home advantage against Jose Bordalas’ men.

Barça Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Barcelona vs Getafe.

Riding on the silver lining

It is true that Barcelona deserved more than a draw against Napoli in Italy earlier this week. During the game that unfolded at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, the Blaugranas were after all the more dominant side by far.

Through the first half and for the greater part of the second, the Catalans were pushing in attack, forcing Napoli into their defensive shell. The defence looked sharp, midfield was fluid and players like Joao Cancelo and Ilkay Gundogan appeared to give the team that little bit extra in attack.

One defensive blunder eventually cost Barcelona their advantage, but it is critical that the team look to build on the positive progress they showed. The game against Napoli might well have been one of Barcelona’s best performances in recent months, and despite the end result, calls for optimism.

Which version of the team steps onto the grass of the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys tomorrow will depend on what the dressing room has taken away from the critical UCL game. Should they look to ride on the silver lining, they could well continue to hold on to their ever-so-small hopes in La Liga.

Should they step out defeated and uninspired, however, both their chances in La Liga and their momentum ahead of the second leg will come crashing down.

High time to rest Yamal

In need of a breather. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

When Lamine Yamal made his debut under Xavi last season, it was quite obvious that Barcelona had unearthed someone special with the youngster. Over the course of the current season, the 16-year-old has only grown in stature and is now considered one of Barcelona’s greatest difference-makers.

Despite the hype around Yamal, Xavi made it a point to use the youngster in moderation considering his young age. His involvement was restricted to the occasional start and appearances off the bench, for the club did not want to risk injuring his growing body.

It all changed when Xavi’s side faced an acute injury crisis in the final third last month. With Ferran Torres, Raphinha and Joao Felix all injured, Yamal was the team’s only available winger, forcing him into back-to-back starts.

Over the past 30 odd days, the teenage sensation has started eight games for Barcelona and played 90 minutes in seven of them. He even played 80 minutes midweek against Napoli, and it is high time the manager now looks to rest the star.

Raphinha and Felix are back in the squad and provide Xavi with options to replace the La Masia starlet. After all, the manager will hope to use Lamine in the upcoming clashes against Athletic Club, Napoli and Atletico Madrid, and tomorrow’s game is thus the ideal chance to give him a breather.

Need for grit

Of all of La Liga’s famed low-blocks, Getafe has historically been the most difficult to break down for Barcelona. After all, the team has grown into an efficient defensive setup under the tutelage of Jose Bordalas.

Barcelona and Getafe met earlier this season on the first match-day of the 2023-24 campaign at Coliseum Alfonso Perez, and the game that followed saw the Catalans put to a stern test. Eventually, it boiled down to a goalless draw with Barcelona failing to convert from an xG of 1.5.

To break down Getafe’s defence tomorrow at Montjuic, thus, will be a test of the team’s grit in the final third. Casual horizontal passing will play directly into Bordalas’ gameplan, and it is thus critical that the Catalans bring their A game in the final third.

All eyes will be on Robert Lewandowski, who has been in fine form in recent weeks, and the likes of Joao Felix and Raphinha who could start on the wings. Equally important will be the creative outlets including Joao Cancelo, Pedri and Ilkay Gundogan who will be fundamental in breaking the defensive lines.

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