Following a very exciting performance and victory against Juventus in the Champions League opener, Barcelona return to action in La Liga with a trip to Madrid for a meeting with recently promoted Getafe.
This has been a very tricky game for Barça over the years, with the Blaugrana losing in shocking fashion a few times away to Getafe. Even in the best days of the Pep Guardiola Era, Barça would find a way to lose there. It's always a tough game regardless of the circumstance, and even tough Barça have won all three of their opening league matches and look very strong at the moment, this is still a match they can somehow lose.
If Barça are able to confirm their status as favorites and get the three points, they'll put immense pressure on title rivals Real Madrid who have one of their toughest assignments of the season away to Real Sociedad, the only other team in La Liga with a perfect record so far.
Can Barça do their job and win a fourth straight league match?
MATCH INFO, TV/STREAMING
Date/Time: Saturday, September 16, 2017, 4:15pm local time, 3:15pm (UK & Nigeria), 10:15am ET, 7:15am PT (USA), 7:45pm IST (India)
Venue: Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, Getafe, Spain
Television: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Not Televised (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India)
Online streaming: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)
(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)
While Ernesto Valverde has named the same 18-man squad that were in uniform against Juventus, he’s hinted at rotations in his pre-match press conference. We haven’t seen Valverde rotate yet this season, so it’ll be interesting to see how many changes he’ll actually make. Luis Enrique would change more than half of the team at times, but Valverde has shown multiple times already that he doesn’t coach the same way as Luis Enrique.
Though we shouldn’t get that many changes, there should be at least one alteration in all areas of the team: in defense, Javier Mascherano will surely come on for one of the center-backs, and given Samuel Umtiti is younger and more durable, it’s probably Piqué who gets a rest and stays on the bench. Nélson Semedo is the only right-back in the squad for Saturday, and although Sergi Roberto could start there, Semedo is still fresh and likely to start again with Jordi Alba in the other full-back position.
The biggest change should be in midfield, with all three of Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta subject to alteration. Busquets seems to be the fitter of the trio and is the most important piece of midfield, so he’ll probably stay. Sergi Roberto will most definitely start in place of Iniesta who has played four matches in a row, and if Rakitic is rested Paulinho and André Gomes will be fighting for Ivan’s place. Paulinho seems to be ahead of Gomes in Valverde’s pecking order, and facing a physical team like Getafe should be a nice opportunity to test Paulinho from the start.
Up front, Luis Suárez is likely to get a rest as the Uruguayan played both matches for Uruguay and started the following two games for Barça. If Suárez is on the bench, Gerard Deulofeu and Denis Suárez are the direct replacements. Regardless of who’s picked by Valverde, the player will be on the left wing, with Ousmane Dembélé on the right and Lionel Messi as the False Nine. Leo has played in the middle since the start of the season and has played incredibly well, so there’s no reason Valverde will change the position of his best player in this game.
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Mascherano, Umtiti, Alba; Roberto, Busquets, Paulinho; Dembélé, Messi, Deulofeu
Guaita; Suárez, Dakonam, Cala, Antunes; Bergara, Arambarri; Fajr, Shibasaki, Ndiaye; Molina
It’ll be a tough match as it always is at Getafe, but Barça are just too good right now, even with rotations: 3-1 to the visitors.