Barcelona are aiming to head into the international break on a positive note as they face Getafe on Sunday.

FC Barcelona’s 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao saw them fail to take advantage of Real Madrid’s result against Levante last weekend. But they will be hopeful of a turnaround when they welcome Getafe at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Barcelona’s last home fixture saw them comfortably beat Real Sociedad 4-2. Ronald Koeman should be hoping for pretty much the same as the club looks to cope without the services of Lionel Messi this season.

Fortunately for them, it appears there is a lot of business still yet to be done, with Bernardo Silva emerging as a possibility in these closing stages of the transfer window. Koeman, though, will mainly focus on the upcoming game against Getafe, which could be tricky given they had lost 1-0 to the same opponent in the away fixture last season.

Barca, though, were quite dominant when these two teams last met each other, securing a comfortable 5-2 victory at Camp Nou in April. Not to mention, Getafe have started the new season with back to back defeats to Valencia and Sevilla.

A game against Barcelona should mark the end of such a difficult schedule, with Los Azulones set to face Elche and Rayo Vallecano after the international break. Nevertheless, Michel’s men will be keen on securing at least a point from this fixture, knowing it could go a long way in lifting the spirits heading into the international break.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at these two sides ahead of their encounter at Nou Camp this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Barcelona

Barcelona are missing a host of players for their game against Getafe. While the upcoming international break should give many of their stars time to recover, they will have to make do without them this weekend, with the list including the likes of Ansu Fati, Sergio Aguero, Ousmane Dembele, Gerard Pique among others.

Pique has been recently ruled out following a torn muscle injury. He joins Eric Garcia in the list of absentees, with the youngster suspended due to a red card against Athletic Bilbao. It should force Koeman to deploy Ronald Araujo at centre-back, alongside Clement Lenglet, with the Dutchman lacking any other viable alternatives.

With main central defenders injured, it will be essential for Barcelona to offer the perfect balance in defence. Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba remain favourites to occupy the wider defensive roles, but Emerson could be pushing for a start over Dest due to his defensive prowess.

With Marc-Andre ter Stegen back in the squad, he ought to replace Neto in goal on Sunday. The Barcelona backline needs to be vigilant up against the Getafe attack this weekend. A lot will depend on how Sergio Busquets screens the defence in the holding midfield position.

The ageing Spaniard may receive additional support from a more defence-minded Sergi Roberto, filling in for Pedri, who has been given a vacation following a tiring 2020/21 campaign. Roberto should form the Barca midfield alongside Busquets and Frenkie de Jong, who remains the catalyst for the creative unit in the final third with his movements and ability to camp himself in the opposition half.

Indeed, de Jong’s presence in the final third will enable the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Memphis Depay to link up well, giving themselves an additional passing option. It will be interesting to see how the attackers fare alongside Martin Braithwaite, who could either start centrally or out wide, depending on the situation of the game.

The Dane may even join Depay in the first line of press, with Griezmann playing further back to support the midfielders during the defensive phases. Either way, with Messi not there to make a difference, all of these players need to support each other better in order to have any chance of prevailing.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; Roberto, Busquets, de Jong; Griezmann, Depay, Braithwaite

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Getafe

Getafe are not missing too many players like Barcelona and are not expected to tinker much with their tried and tested 4-4-2 setup that often works well against big teams.

Their two main strikers Enes Unal and Sandro Ramirez, an ex-La Masia prodigy, will be in charge of leading the line and, more importantly, acting as the first line of press. They will look to pressure the Barca ball-carriers, preventing them from building play out from the back.

In the second line of press, the wide attackers Carles Alena, another La Masia graduate and Vitoto could either operate as false eight by attacking the Barca midfielders or just operate narrowly, preventing the full-backs from dominating the game by making overlapping runs out wide.

The central midfield duo of Nemanja Maksimovic and Mauro Arambarri, on the other hand, are in charge of providing the solidity in the middle of the park. They might also play a vital role on the counter, finding the attackers with their passes in behind the Barcelona backline.

And finally, Getafe’s defensive unit will be without another ex-Barcelona player in Marc Cucurella. So they will have to stick with the full-back duo of Damian Suarez and Mathias Olivera, as they hope to provide the additional defensive coverage for Stefan Mitrovic and captain Djene Dakonam.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Soria; Suarez, Dakonam, Mitrovic, Olivera; Alena, Arambarri, Maksimovic, Vitolo; Ramirez, Unal

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Key Stats

  • FC Barcelona have lost just one of their last 17 La Liga matches against Getafe, a 1-0 away defeat in October 2020.
  • Getafe have played 16 away games against Barcelona in La Liga without a win, more than against any other opposition in the top-flight.
  • Barcelona are unbeaten in their last two games against Madrid sides in La Liga, after losing each of the previous four against them in the competition.
  • Getafe have won just one of their last 12 Laliga away games, 2-0 against Huesca in April, failing to score in eight of those matches.
  • Barcelona have drawn three of their last six La Liga matches after having drawn just one of their previous 19 games in the competition.

Player to Watch

Memphis Depay

Memphis Depay has made an impressive early impact since joining from Olympique Lyon on a free transfer. The attacker starred in the opening day victory over Real Sociedad while rescuing a point against Athletic Bilbao by scoring a late goal, thus making him the focal point of the Barca attack heading into this weekend’s clash.

What makes Depay such an excellent fit at Barcelona is his technical superiority that goes hand in hand with his versatility, allowing him to effortlessly settle into any role alongside Griezmann and Braithwaite, who are equally versatile. Such a free-flowing front three has helped the Blaugrana become a more effective team in the final third.

However, on Sunday, the former Manchester United star is set to face a stern against the Getafe defence that defends well in a 4-4-2 shape. Depay will have to be at his best, and it will be equally important for his teammates to properly support him in the attacking third this weekend.

Prediction

Barcelona 2-0 Getafe

Barcelona are still a work in progress under Ronald Koeman, and given the number of key players they are missing, this could be a much tighter game than it looks. However, the hosts may just have enough quality to get them over the line up against a Getafe side that do have a poor record when facing the Catalans away from home.

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