Asking for more consistency from Barcelona was apparently too much to ask as the Catalan side only managed to beat Getafe 1-0 at home.
Without Robert Lewandowski, Xavi Hernandez front three consisted of Ousmane Dembélé, Ansu Fati and Raphinha. Against a side who was more than likely going to sit back, he reverted back to the usual 4-3-3 formation.
Getafe did set up with a low block and it worked well for a good while in the first half. Barcelona were finally able to break that block in the 35th minute. Pedri connected with a cross from Raphinha, who had switched to the left flank, to open the score. Barcelona were able to take advantage of a poor giveaway from the visiting side.
Recently, especially at home, Barcelona had the habit of taking the lead, having a lot of possession but not able to score a second and see the game off. Much to the annoyance of Xavi, and the supporters, it happened again.
The second half display was abysmal with Xavi’s substitutions not helping the matter. He subbed off both Andreas Christensen and Alejandro Balde for Eric Garcia and Jordi Alba, respectively. Christensen picked up a knock and the club wanted to be careful with him.
Midway through the second half, Xavi switched to a 4-4-2 when he introduced Franck Kessié in place of Raphinha. Again, that substitution didn’t help in terms of getting a second. Kessié did have an opportunity to score late in the game but saw his effort blocked by the keeper.
This time, however, Barcelona were able to hold onto the lead and snuffed out the Getafe chances. They were helped out by the fact Getafe didn’t threaten much and when they did, their scoring occasions were half-chances at best.
But it was a worrying sign considering this type of performance has been talked about ad nauseam and yet it keeps occurring. It also doesn’t help that players who were given a chance to impress or solidify themselves in the starting line-up failed to do so.
Ansu Fati was guilty of that with the caveat he was played as a striker when he usually plays on the left as a winger. That may end up in him being cut some slack but he simply didn’t seem in tune. He was having a tough time controlling passes and his inability to do so cost him when it seemed like Pedri was about to put him through on goal only for the ball to hit him on his heel.
In the end, Barcelona won and picked up an important three points. They are now six points ahead of Real Madrid — pending their result against Athletic Bilbao. They’re going to have to improve significantly as their next match is again at home, in the Copa del Rey, against a Real Sociedad side who is on an impressive run of form.