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Three things we learnt from Getafe 0-0 Barcelona

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona played out a barren draw away at Getafe yesterday evening. The Catalans thus consolidated a second-place finish in La Liga, as Atletico Madrid lay five points behind with just one game left to play.

Even with the lacklustre collective performance, there were still plenty of lessons to learn from the game. Join Barça Universal as we explore them.

1. Impressive performance from Mingueza and Balde

A solid outing for Balde. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Managers have a tendency to prefer certain players over others. This is natural, as having the best possible line-up to guarantee a good performance, the team has to maximise their chances of obtaining a victory. That lesser players are ignored is hence easier to understand.

Notwithstanding their limited number of minutes, the duo of Oscar Mingueza and Alejandro Balde had a wonderful evening in defence.

The former played in his rightful role under Xavi Hernandez, possibly for the first time this season and was virtually faultless. 

His positioning was always perfect, he made a host of recoveries, and on the ball, he made the most passes for the team, with 148, at a 96% accuracy. 

Footballers are better when played in their respective positions; who would have thought?

Balde has been rumoured not to be one of Xavi’s favourites. He must have, however, made a solid case for himself yesterday. The 18-year-old got his first minutes of first-team football in five months and hardly made any errors. 

Be it in passing, positioning, or pressing, the Spaniard executed his tasks with utmost precision. Perhaps, if Xavi believes in him, he can have a spot in the team next season.

2. A first clean sheet without Pique this season

Gerard Pique is enjoying one of his best seasons ever in the garnet and blue of Barça. While in seasons past many would have spoken of Messidependencia, the team has suffered a serious case of Piquedependencia this season in defence. 

Before yesterday, Barcelona had not kept a single clean sheet without the Barça number 3.

Most of the team had a forgettable performance, however, the defence was as solid as possible. They were so brilliant, in fact, that despite Marc Andre ter Stegen conceding 0.28 PSxG, all the shots on target were either forced centrally towards the German or were utterly lacking in power.

Barça had nothing to fight for, and at the very least, this match served as evidence to show that even with limited materials, the team can actually be competent defensively.

3. Xavi ends his league travels unbeaten

Unbeaten away from home. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

Barcelona as a club are synonymous with abjectly poor performances away from home. One need not look any further than the consecutive remontadas against Roma and Liverpool as proof of this.

Under Ernesto Valverde, Barça played as one would expect between home and away grounds. The team finished with 49 points at home in the 2018/19 season and 38 away. This is the norm for most teams, not just his.

Bizarrely enough, while the Camp Nou no longer seems to be the fortress it once was, Xavi has turned every away ground into his own play zone. Since his appointment, Barça have won 32 points away from home and even lead the away league table.

The points per game average is 2.29 away, whereas at home, it is 2.18. The record is even more impressive when the away grounds include the Benito Villamarin, the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, and most notably, the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Strength away from home is something hardly any manager can attest to. With better players next season, Barcelona can seek to extend this record. 

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