In the aftermath of the abandonment of the European Super League, Barcelona will be hoping to shift their attention back to football when they take on Getafe on Thursday.
The early week drama caused by the proposed European Super League, founded by twelve top clubs across Europe caused quite a furore among fans and the footballing world in general. Barcelona, one of the founders, were among those that received widespread criticism with their decision to enroll themselves in the ESL getting perceived as an attack on the club’s philosophy and motto.
However, with the controversial competition pretty much done and dusted after the ‘Big Six’ of the Premier League clubs stepped out of the plans, Barcelona will hope to shift their focus back to football when they play hosts to Getafe on Thursday.
It will be a vital game for the Blaugrana, especially after the loss to Real Madrid in El Clasico that allowed their arch-rivals to move ahead of them in the league table. Barcelona, though, do have a game in hand and a win against Getafe could leave them just two points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid, piling heaps of pressure on Diego Simeone’s men.
Getafe, though, are not an opposition to be taken likely. Although the Azulones are dawdling in mid-table, they did Barcelona a huge favour on Monday by holding Real Madrid to a goalless draw. They will be hoping to secure another upset when they take on the Catalans this midweek. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their crucial match-up at Camp Nou.
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👀 La Masia pic.twitter.com/Q8wHxhdKvs
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 20, 2021
Although this is nothing short of an important game for Barcelona, coach Ronald Koeman will be tempted to one or two changes to the side that secured the Copa Del Rey with a win over Athletic Bilbao on the weekend.
One of the players tipped for a return to the bench is Gerard Pique. The veteran centre-back has had problems with fitness and Koeman will be needing his experience during the final stretch of the campaign. As such, he could make way this midweek, allowing Ronald Araujo to return to the three-man backline alongside Oscar Mingueza and Clement Lenglet.
Koeman’s decision to shift to a three-man defence has offered Barcelona much more defensive balance as well as more assurance in possession, as the wing-backs in Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba have been able to offer additional passing option for the central midfielders.
The Dutchman will be hoping for a similar scenario against Getafe, although the opposition is unlikely to employ a high press either way. It means Barcelona could rely a great deal on their midfielders in Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri, who will be tasked with the responsibility of offering a bit more creativity going forward.
Pedri, in particular, is a vital cog in Barcelona’s chance creation and his combination play with the two attackers in Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann could go a long way dictating the fate of Barcelona in this important encounter.
Koeman does have the attacking firepower on the bench, though, with Francisco Trincao and Ousmane Dembele all viable options who can inject more energy or pace to their game in the final third.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): ter Stegen; Mingueza, Araujo, Lenglet; Dest, Pedri, Busquets, de Jong, Alba; Messi, Griezmann
Getafe cannot be complacent in front of goal if they are to salvage anything against Barcelona this midweek. Their main striker Jaime Mata simply has not got going in terms of his productivity this season, scoring just five goals so far.
The veteran forward did, however, score the winner when Getafe last faced Barcelona. And he will be hoping for a similar performance this time around, as he looks to spearhead the attack alongside Enes Unal in Jose Bordalas’s preferred 4-4-2 formation.
¡Buenos días azulones! ☀
— Getafe C.F. (@GetafeCF) April 19, 2021
The main focus, however, will be on Getafe’s wide midfielders in both Carles Alena and Marc Cucurella, with the latter being an ex-Barcelona player while the former has been signed on loan from the Catalans. It will be a glorious opportunity for the duo to shine against the hosts, as they look to offer the supply and creativity for the two strikers upfront.
However, both Alena and Cucurella could be given an equally important role in the defensive side of things. They will primarily look to prevent the Barcelona wing-backs from influencing the game by using their cover shadows to block potential passing options upfront or to create passing triangles in the wider areas of the pitch.
There should not be too many changes elsewhere either, particularly in the defensive unit as Getafe look to continue with the central defensive combination of Djene and David Timor, although right-back Allan Nyom’s suspension could pave the way for Damian Suarez to come back into the side.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Soria; Suarez, Djene, Timor, Olivera; Alena, Arambarri, Maksimovic, Cucurella; Unal, Mata
- Barcelona lost 1-0 against Getafe in the reverse fixture this season – they have never lost both league games against them in a single campaign.
- Getafe have played more away La Liga games without a win (15) against Barcelona than against any other opponent.
- Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 12 league games at Camp Nou, since the 1-3 defeat vs Real Madrid in October 2020.
- Getafe have failed to win in their last six away league games, without scoring in four of them. They have failed to score in nine away league matches this season, their highest tally in a single season in the top-flight since 2015-16 , when they were relegated.
- Barcelona have scored only 69 goals after their first 31 league games in 2020/21, their lowest tally at this stage of the season in the last 13 campaign.
Player to Watch
Lionel Messi is definitely the player worth keeping an eye on for Barcelona, especially after his performance against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey final. His 23 goals, in fact, are more than what Getafe have managed in the entire season. The Argentine himself has been in good form, despite failing to get involved in a single goal in the last two league matches.
In fact, Messi has been involved in a total of 18 league goals in the last 11 league matches, averaging almost two goals per game, which is incredible for any player. Barcelona, therefore, will be hoping for a similar performance when they take on Getafe this midweek, in their bid to maintain pressure on league leaders Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona 2-0 Getafe
Getafe tried their best to find the back of their net in the draw with Real Madrid but were unable to find a breakthrough. Their ineffective attacking unit could haunt them once again, up against a Barcelona side that have been ruthless in front of goal, especially since the turn of the year. We are expecting a relatively comfortable 2-0 for the Blaugrana, with Lionel Messi likely to star once again.