With Atletico Madrid matching them step for step in La Liga, Barcelona have to earn three points every time out. This could be a difficult task against a quality opponent in Getafe.
Through 16 matches, both Barcelona and Atletico have exactly 14 wins, one draw and one loss to go with a plus-34 goal differential. Real Madrid remain five points behind with 38 points. This puts the pressure on each club to stay nearly perfect in league matches.
Meanwhile, Getafe have performed well this season to sit in eighth place in the league table. They have been especially impressive at home with only two losses in eight matches.
Additionally, these two squads will compete against each other in the round of 16 of the Copa Del Rey next month.
Here is a look at what to expect in what should be a good battle between La Liga squads.
Who will win?
When: Sunday, Dec. 12 at 11 a.m. ET/4 p.m. GMT
Where: Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Getafe, Spain
Watch: beIN Sport; beIN Sport en Espanol, Sky Sports 3 (UK)
Live Stream: beIN Sport Play
Odds (via SkyBet): Barcelona (2-5), Getafe (13-2), Draw (15-4)
Top Storyline: Who Will Step Up Offensively for Barcelona?
Barca have already been without Lionel Messi for a few weeks while he deals with leg injuries. Fortunately, young star Neymar has stepped up in his absence and has been incredible in all competitions.
However, he will also be out for this matchup due to a decision by manager Tata Martino. According to the club's official website, he said:
Neymar...will go to Brazil this Thursday where he’ll have 10 days of rest. He’s practically had no rest for months. He’s adapted well to the Club and he knows the role he has to play. He’s very loved by everyone.
While giving the young player extra rest for winter is a smart move long term, it leaves the attack relatively bare for the upcoming match.
The squad will need extra contributions from Alexis Sanchez and Pedro if they start, two players who are usually secondary options offensively. Additionally Cesc Fabregas might have to look for his own shot more than usual as he attempts to become a primary scorer.
Prediction: Getafe 0, Barcelona 2
The Barcelona Twitter account provided an interesting statistic about the club's history at Getafe:
Whenever FC Barcelona have won at Getafe, they have always gone on to win the title http://t.co/n2OsR9aosW— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 20, 2013
In the last nine seasons, Barca have won six titles and all featured a win at Coliseum Alfonso Perez. In the other three appearances, Getafe have two wins and a draw.
This should give Barcelona confidence after what will be another successful match. Even without Neymar, the club has enough creativity between Andres Iniesta and Fabregas to create easy opportunities for whoever is on the front line.
Meanwhile, Getafe have been inconsistent offensively this season, with only Pedro Leon showcasing the ability to get the ball into the net with regularity. They have gotten very little production from the striker position all year.
After Barcelona have earned four clean sheets in the last six La Liga matches, they should add to that total on the road in this matchup.
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