Barcelona travel to relegation-threatened Getafe in La Liga on Sunday, looking to keep their 13-point lead at the top of the table intact.
La Liga leaders Barcelona will look to arrest a recent dip in form when they make the trip to Getafe at the Estadio Coliseum Alfonso Perez on Sunday.
Despite dropping points in a goalless draw with Girona, Barcelona moved one step closer to regaining La Liga crown as they are 13 points clear of second-place Real Madrid.
Out of both the UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey, it would take a capitulation of epic proportions for Barcelona to lose the league title at this point. Unstead, their aim should be on breaking all sorts of defensive records, having currently shipped just nine league goals this season.
Getafe have been struggling for a couple of seasons now and are in the thick of the relegation race. But they have shown genuine green shoots of recovery lately, having lost only one game in their last five league games (W2 D2).
After a six-match winless run through January and February, Getafe fell to the drop zone, and their fate was thought to have been sealed. But they have made a comeback, which has seen them get out of the relegation zone.
Still, they cannot afford to relax just yet, as they are only three points clear of the relegation zone after a 2-0 defeat away to Real Sociedad. So a defeat here could see them end the game week in the red zone should other results go against them.
While they enter the game as underdogs, a certain motivating factor for Getafe supporters is the fact that their team has turned the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez into a real fortress in recent weeks, winning each of their last three.
Getafe also put up a spirited display the last time they played host to Barcelona, enough to snatch a point thanks to a goalless draw. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at these two sides ahead of their encounter at the Coliseum this weekend.
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¡Buenos días, azulones! ☀
Feliz #DíaInternacionalDelPortero, en especial a nuestros tres porterazos 🧤💙 pic.twitter.com/GA9lSdbZwb
— Getafe C.F. (@GetafeCF) April 14, 2023
Key central midfielder Mauro Arambarri has missed Getafe’s last five games with a muscle injury, and Sunday’s game would come too soon for him while forward Jaime Mata remains in the recovery room. Otherwise, coach Quique Sanchez Flores has no other problems.
Sanchez Flores’s has played most of the games with a back five and a very cautious approach to make them competent defensively after they were among the worst defences in the division at the start of the season. In attack, they have the personnel to produce good moments. But Enes Unal aside, there is a lack of effectiveness in front of the goal.
But they know how to make things tough for Barcelona. And at times, it has been very frustrating for the Catalans over the last few years. If they do play a back five as expected on Sunday, they will test an area of concern for this current Barça team.
The visitors can be uninspiring and monotonous when attacking teams with a low block and five at the back, struggling to break down that specific defensive structure and having a whole lot of possession without any meaningful chances.
The home side will have to stick with the wing-back duo of Damian Suarez and Cristian Portu, as they hope to provide the additional defensive coverage for the back-three comprising Djene Ortega, Domingos Duarte, and Omar Alderete, which will sit in front of goalkeeper David Soria.
Again, the defensive midfield pivot of Nemanja Maksimovic and Luis Milla will look to screen the back-five to form a compact, counter-attacking shape. Their striker trio of Enes Unal, Munir El-Haddadi, and Borja Mayoral will be in charge of leading the line and, more importantly, acting as the first line of the press, as they look to force mistakes from the Barcelona backline while building play out from the back.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Soria; Djene, Duarte, Alderete; Suarez, Maksimovic, Milla, Portu; Mayoral, Unal, Munir
Having been held to a 0-0 draw at home to Girona on Monday, Barcelona were clearly handicapped by the absence of Pedri, Ousmane Dembele, Frenkie de Jong, and Andreas Christensen in that game. And none of the quartet is likely to be fit enough to start in the south of Madrid.
Xavi will probably opt for a 4-3-3 formation and could make a few changes to his starting XI for this game. Marc-Andre ter Stegen is expected to start between the sticks for the upcoming clash. Eric Garcia will partner with Ronald Araujo at the heart of Barcelona’s backline.
Jules Kounde was busy along the whole right flank against Girona, covering defensively while providing good attacking assistance. Meanwhile, Alejandro Balde almost played as a left winger in a bid to give Barcelona added width while attacking. He could play the same role here.
Friday's training highlights!
🔊 𝕊𝕠𝕦𝕟𝕕 𝕆𝕟 🔊 pic.twitter.com/NkqkCDBxHF
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 15, 2023
Sergi Roberto started in midfield against Girona but failed to offer the required ball progression, and forward passing. Ao Franck Kessie could come back into the equation here to partner alongside Gavi and Sergio Busquets in the middle of the park.
Barcelona will need intensity, plenty of movement in the final third, and not be hesitant to play long balls to catch Getafe off guard in the moments when they do press a little higher up the pitch.
It needs to be a complete attacking performance from the front three of Ferran Torres, La Liga top scorer Robert Lewandowski, and Raphinha with quick passing, plenty of runs in behind, good decisions in the final third, and brutal efficiency in front of the goal.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Garcia, Balde; Gavi, Busquets, Kessie; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Torres
- Barcelona have kept a clean sheet in seven of their last nine La Liga matches.
- Barcelona won seven of their last nine La Liga meetings with Getafe.
- Barcelona have failed to win and score in their last two visits to Getafe in La Liga (D1 L1).
- Getafe boasts three wins from their last three home games and is unbeaten in four.
- The hosts have avoided a defeat in seven of their last nine encounters.
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Getafe CF may be in the bottom half of La Liga. But Los Azulones have good reason to believe they’ll escape the relegation scrap before the end of the season. They boast firepower in attack in the form of Enes Unal, who is now the third top scorer in the Pichichi charts with 13 goals, just four fewer than leader Robert Lewandowski.
A right-footed poacher blessed with heading and finishing, the Turk has been in fine form since the turn of the year. His clinical performances for Getafe lately have also seen him linked with a move to Los Blancos as a backup option for Benzema, who is considered to be in the twilight of his illustrious career.
Nevertheless, his mind is currently focused on getting Getafe safe. And he will be keen to get on the scoresheet here to give his side an outside chance of upsetting the odds.
Getafe 1-2 Barcelona
With the title all but clinched, Barcelona seemed to have taken their foot off the gas in the final ten games. A goalless draw with Girona summed up perfectly the vibe surrounding the club after their humiliating defeat to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey.
Getafe can be a really tough fixture and will test Barcelona’s ability to create and sustain attacks if they play a back five. But we still believe the visitors will dominate midfield and come up with enough chances and goals to get a narrow 2-1 win.
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