Barcelona will be hoping to win their first away game of the season when they take on Getafe at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on Saturday.

The games continue to come thick and fast in La Liga, with Villarreal and Real Betis going head-to-head on Friday night. Reigning champions Barcelona will be in action on Saturday, when they travel to Madrid to take on Getafe, who will play hosts to the Catalans at Coliseum Alfonso Perez.

Getafe started the season with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid. But, since then they are unbeaten and are starting to garner a reputation of being draw specialists. Jose Bordalas’ men have drawn four of their last five games, with the solitary win coming against Mallorca, a result that followed a 1-0 win in the Azulones’ opening Europa League fixture.

Barcelona, on the other hand, are off to a slow beginning to the 2019-20 season, even though they are currently ahead of Getafe on the La Liga table. The Blaugrana are currently placed sixth in the standings, having only won their three home games thus far. On the road, in all competitions, Ernesto Valverde & co. are winless, with two draws and as many losses in four outings.

The corresponding fixture last season ended in a narrow 2-1 win for Barcelona, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on the scoresheet. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the La Liga encounter.

Team News & Tactics

Getafe

Can Jose Bordalas & co. heap more misery on Barcelona? (Photo by Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images)

Can Jose Bordalas & co. heap more misery on Barcelona? (Photo by Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images)

Jose Bordalas does not have any fresh injury concerns to deal with ahead of the visit of Barcelona. On Saturday, the Getafe boss will continue to be without three first-team players, with long-term absentees Amath Ndiaye and Vitorino Antunes out till December, while Filip Manojlovic will not be back until the end of October, as he continues his recovery from a back injury.

A relatively clean bill of health has paved the way for stability in Bordalas’ team selection thus far, with the first-choice starting lineup looking well-settled. The Getafe manager lines his side up in his preferred 4-4-2 formation, with the system seldom being changed.

The twin banks of four aim to suffocate the opposition off any space to work with, while the midfield will also be tasked with moving the ball forward at pace. The strike partnership comprises of two wily forwards, with Getafe captain Jorge Molina and Jaime Mata using all their experience to good effect in the final third.

Angel Rodriguez has come off the bench to score in each of the last two games, but the 32-year-old is unlikely to usurp either Mata or Molina. The four-man midfield unit has a youthful look, with Marc Cucurella, who joined Getafe on loan from Barcelona, starting on the left wing, while Jason, another summer arrival, manning the opposite flank.

Nemanja Maksimovic and Mauro Arambarri will shore up the central areas, looking to keep things tight in the middle of the park. The duo will protect a back four of Damian Suarez, Djene Dakonam, Leandro Cabrera and Allan Nyom. In goal, David Soria will aim to be the latest goalkeeper to leave the Barcelona attack frustrated.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Soria; Damian Suarez, Djene, Cabrera, Nyom; Jason, Arambarri, Maksimovic, Cucurella; Molina, Mata

Getafe

Barcelona

Ernesto Valverde has had a frustrating time with injuries in the early stages of the season, particularly concerning Lionel Messi. The Barcelona captain only recently recovered from a calf injury. But, after playing just three games, Messi is back on the sidelines, this time due to a groin complaint.

Valverde is unsure as to when Messi will be fit to return, meaning the pressure will once again be on Antoine Griezmann, especially with Luis Suarez blowing hot and cold. Suarez will lead the line for Barcelona, with Griezmann starting on the right side of the Barcelona attack in Messi’s absence.

Another fresh fitness concern surrounds the in-form Ansu Fati, who is unavailable to face Getafe due to a knee injury. With Fati out, Ousmane Dembele and Carles Perez, fresh off his signing a new deal with Barcelona, will contest the final spot in attack. Dembele, though, is expected to pip Perez to make the starting lineup.

Arthur ought to have nailed down his place in the starting lineup after impressing yet again. The Brazilian should be accompanied by Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong in the middle of the park, with de Jong being given a sort of a breather last time out by Valverde.

At the back, the Barcelona manager’s team selection has been influenced by injuries, with Samuel Umtiti and Jordi Alba out injured. Alba’s injury means Junior Firpo will get another chance to make an impression on Valverde, while Clement Lenglet has benefited immensely from Umtiti’s absence.

Lenglet will be Gerard Pique’s central defensive partner once again, with resounding first-choice right-back Nelson Semedo completing the back four. There is no looking past Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal for Barcelona.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; de Jong, Busquets, Arthur; Griezmann, Luis Suarez, Dembele

Barcelona

Key Stats

  • Getafe have failed to beat Barcelona in the last 13 La Liga meetings between the two sides (D3 L10), since a 1-0 win nearly eight years ago.
  • Getafe have not been beaten in their last six games (W2 D4), since a 1-0 loss at Atletico Madrid in their opening game of the season.
  • Barcelona are yet to win a game on the road in four attempts across all competitions this term (D2 L2).
  • Barcelona have scored nine goals from outside box in 2019, more than any other team in La Liga this year.
  • Only Karim Benzema and Loren Moron (five goals and one assist each) have been directly involved in more goals than Antoine Griezmann in La Liga this season (three goals and two assists).

Player to Watch

Marc Cucurella

Can Cucurella make an impact against his parent club? (Photo by Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images)

Can Cucurella make an impact against his parent club? (Photo by Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images)

After impressing with Eibar last season, Marc Cucurella would have hoped to return to become a part of the Barcelona first-team setup this season. But, the youngster was quickly shipped out to Getafe, with the Azulones signing him on-loan for the entirety of the 2019-20 season.

The 21-year-old has settled quickly into his new surroundings, and looks at home on the left side of the Getafe midfield. Now, with his parent club paying Getafe a visit, Cucurella has the chance to show the reigning champions what they are missing. With a point to prove, Cucurella might just run riot, especially with Nelson Semedo not being consistent so far this term.

Prediction

Getafe 1-1 Barcelona

A draw seems to be the easiest result to predict for a Getafe game this season, with the latest being a 3-3 stalemate against Valencia. Barcelona, on the other hand, just cannot manage to grab all three points in a game on the road. And so, all signs point towards the two sides sharing the spoils on Saturday.

A closer look into the two sides also suggests why a draw seems to be the most logical prediction. Barcelona, in the absence of Lionel Messi, are just not the same side, especially with Luis Suarez not quite at his best and Antoine Griezmann struggling away from home. Getafe, meanwhile, do not seem to be as strong defensively as last season.

All in all, one can expect an evenly contested affair, that should have very little margin for error. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 draw, meaning Barcelona will extend their winless run on the road, a setback, especially with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid locking horns later on Saturday.

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