Barcelona will be aiming to secure second place in the league table when they take on Getafe on Saturday.

Thanks to a run of three consecutive wins in La Liga, FC Barcelona are on the verge of clinching the runner-up spot in this season’s La Liga. They have collected 72 points already and have a healthy five-point lead over third-placed Atletico Madrid. With just two matches remaining until the end of the season, a win against Getafe could be enough to seal the second place in the league table.

Having missed out on the league title to arch-rivals Real Madrid, finishing second might seem insignificant in ordinary circumstances. But in the midst of a financial crisis, Barcelona will be keen on earning the merits of finishing second as it would offer them a greater revenue come the end of the season.

It would also help them accomplish a truly remarkable turnaround by new coach Xavi, given the fact that Barça were dawdling outside the top four spots at the time of his appointment.

Although there have been some inconsistency and a hint of predictability in their performance along the way, Barcelona have looked a much better side and could have achieved even more had it not been for unfortunate injuries throughout the course of the campaign.

As for their weekend opponent Getafe, they only need a draw to realistically secure their top-flight status. The Madrilenian outfit are currently in 15th position, five points ahead of 18th placed Mallorca, but thanks to their superior goal difference, they only need a point in one of their remaining two games to remain in La Liga.

Here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this crucial encounter at Coliseum Alfonso Perez this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Getafe

Stefan Mitrovic’s red card in the draw with Osasuna means Quique Sanchez Flores may have to deploy Gaston Alvarez at centre-back. The young defender will look to form the three-man Getafe backline alongside Djene and Jorge Cuenca, with the three likely to operate in a deep defensive line.

Getafe have Juan Iglesias and Mathias Olivera as the two wing-backs. Although they could be given the freedom to make marauding runs forward, they may largely operate defensively, with Iglesias, in particular, having his work cut out against the likes of Jordi Alba and Ousmane Dembele.

Quique Sanchez Flores should have no reason to tinker with his midfield trifecta of Florentino, Nemanja Maksimovic and Mauro Arambarri as they look to prevent Barcelona from controlling the play in the middle of the park. Okay Yokuslu is another option for the home side, while Gonzalo Villar and Carles Alena can offer the creative essence.

Getafe have a lot of quality in the attack as well, including their top goalscorer Enes Unal. The Turkish international will be Barcelona’s main threat this weekend, having already netted 15 goals this term. Unal’s attacking partnership with Borja Mayoral could take the Barça defence by storm, with Sandro Ramirez being a potential alternative.

Probable Lineup (5-3-2): Soria; Iglesias, Alvarez, Cuenca, Djene, Olivera; Florentino, Arambarri, Maksimovic; Mayoral, Unal

Barcelona

Barcelona are missing a plethora of players heading into this affair, including the defensive duo of Sergino Dest, and Gerard Pique while Ronald Araujo is unlikely to be risked after picking up a nasty concussion in the game against Celta Vigo.

If these two weren’t enough, Eric Garcia has picked up an injury as well, and has been ruled out. He would have been unavailable anyway due to a suspension, along with Frenkie de Jong and Jordi Alba, giving Xavi a proper selection dilemma heading into the affair.

With Dest unavailable, Xavi could be forced to retain the services of Dani Alves at right-back while Oscar Mingueza and Samuel Umtiti are in line to replace Araujo and Garcia in central defence. As for the left-back slot, Clement Lenglet could be asked to fill in the absence of Alba.

Alba’s forays down the flanks, coupled with his experience and leadership have been a boon for Barcelona under the tactical setup of Xavi. But Barcelona will miss his services this weekend, so the onus will be on the attackers to offer the creativity upfront.

In midfield, Sergio Busquets is back in contention after serving a suspension against Celta Vigo. He should re-occupy the number six slot, but with de Jong ruled out, Xavi is likely to retain his 4-2-3-1 setup rather than starting with Riqui Puig.

The retention of the 4-2-3-1 should pave the way for Ferran Torres to retain his place in the side. He and Ousmane Dembele should operate out wide, with Memphis Depay occupying the number ten role, just behind the main striker in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who bagged a brace in the win over Celta Vigo.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): ter Stegen; Alves, Mingueza, Umtiti, Lenglet; Busquets, Gavi; Dembele, Depay, Ferran; Aubameyang

Key Stats

  • Following their victory at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez in October 2020 (1-0), Getafe could win two home games in a row against Barcelona for the first time in their entire Laliga career.
  • Barcelona have achieved more wins (11) and scored more goals (29) against Getafe at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez than any other away side in LaLiga history.
  • Barcelona have scored in 12 of their 16 away matches against Getafe in LaLiga (29 goals in total, an average of 1.8 per match), though did fail to score in their last visit to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez in October 2020 (1-0). They have never failed to score in consecutive away games against them in the top flight.
  • Getafe have not lost any of their last four matches in LaLiga (W1 D3), drawing their last three. They could draw four straight matches in the top-flight for the third time, having also done this in February 2009 and February 2018.
  • Barcelona have not lost any of their last 14 LaLiga away games (W9 D5), winning the last six, both the longest current away streaks of any team in the competition.

Player to Watch

Ansu Fati

Having missed almost the entirety of the season through injury, Ansu Fati’s return to full fitness has been a massive boon for Barcelona. The young and explosive forward could be an integral part of the Barcelona setup next season, as he looks to help the club restore its old glory.

Fati is currently available and in contention to start against Getafe. But he is unlikely to be risked having only recently come back from another injury layoff. Fati did star in the win over Real Betis earlier this month and his services could, nevertheless, be essential as Barça look to get past the challenge of Getafe.

Although the youngster might not start this weekend, his pace and trickery, coupled with the knack for scoring goals could prove to be beneficial for Barcelona in the second half, especially if the Catalans fail to unlock the Getafe defence by then.

Prediction

Getafe 1-2 Barcelona

Getafe are not an opponent to be taken lightly. They have genuine quality going forward and in Quique Sanchez Flores, they have a coach who knows his trade well. He will be aware of Barça’s inefficiencies in defence and maximise the quality of top goalscorer Enes Unal.

On the flip side, Barcelona have appeared quite predictable in attack, with the Catalans largely relying on Dembele to whip in dangerous crosses into the box. But with Busquets back into contention, the visitors should have greater balance in their ranks and remain the undisputed favourites to seal all three points this weekend.

Leave A Comment...

*