Barcelona to edge out Getafe in lively affair
With the lengthy international break concluded, La Liga action returns to Spain this weekend. Southern Madrid outfit Getafe welcome giants Barcelona to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. The hosts sit in a more than respectable seventh position in the early standings despite having played a game fewer than most other teams. The visitors have several key figures missing for the fixture, but ought to still return to Catalonia with a victory. Read our preview here:
Nyom, Nyom, Nyom
Barcelona are almost certainly still in transition after a wretched conclusion to their 2019/2020. Attacking wise, they can remain boastful of some of the very best in the world... but defensively, they're quite ordinary. Experienced head coach José Bordalás' best hope of exploiting the weaknesses would be to concentrate most of their approach play down the right flank. Former West Bromwich Albion utility man Allan-Roméo Nyom will enjoy complete aerial dominance against both Ansu Fati and new acquistion Sergiño Dest, and the former is very unlikely to be instructed to help out his teammate in defensive situations. Getafe's 4-4-2 shape will ensure, despite their lofty opposition, that crosses from the byline by Nyom in particular will always have have at least two players waiting in the area to get on the end of them. Neither Gerard Piqué nor Clément Lenglet have impressed in recent weeks, so the opportunities are there to at least get on the scoresheet.
Tough nuts to crack
The aforementioned absences will hurt Blaugrana - having no Jordi Alba, Miralem Pjanić, or Marc-André ter Stegen would do that to any club in the world. However, they are still almost certain to dominate possession. The double pivot at the base of midfield will orchestrate every passage of play, unleashing Fati and Antoine Griezmann to dovetail and cut inside from the wings to support Phillipe Coutinho in behind legend and captain Leo Messi. They will come up against a home side that have kept consecutive clean sheets in their own stadium in the league thus far, so it won't necessarily all go to plan, despite the obvious gulfs in wealth and talent on display.
Saturday night summit?
If Barcelona can succeed on Saturday evening and other results go their way, they could go top of the table and have two games in hand on many of their competitors. To do that, they'll have to force Getafe to play in their own defensive third of the pitch, and resort to long balls to temporarily relieve pressure. Doubtlessly, when at their peak, they can overwhelm their opponents with their possession play and intricate passing. On the other hand, they are not invincible, and perhaps even vulnerable on the counter and aerially. bet365 are offering odds of 3.75 for the super club to win with both sides scoring, and that seems like the prudent tip in this encounter.