Barcelona emerges from gloom to set the pace in La Liga

Three wins from three has put Barcelona on the top of the table and with a four-point advantage over rival Real, who stumbled with two draws in its last two games in the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona, fresh from Tuesdays emphatic 3-0 Champions League victory over Juventus, has the chance provisionally to move seven points clear of Real and Atletico Madrid.   -  AFP

 

Barcelona has emerged from a cloud of pessimism to make a perfect start to its La Liga campaign and travel to Getafe on Saturday looking to stretch its advantage over Real Madrid, whose early optimism has been dampened.

A pall of gloom hung over the Catalans in the close season following the departure of Neymar to Paris St Germain and other failures in the transfer market, leading club members to sign a petition of no confidence against the club president. Yet its off the pitch problems have seemingly had no effect on their performances.

Three wins from three has put Barcelona on the top of the table and with a four-point advantage over rival Real, who stumbled with two draws in its last two games in the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barca, fresh from Tuesdays emphatic 3-0 Champions League victory over Juventus, has the chance provisionally to move seven points clear of Real and Atletico Madrid and coach Ernesto Valverde has indicated he will give game time to fringe players.

“Up to now some players have played more than others but everyone will get their chance,” he said. “I picked the best set of lads to get the job done against Juve and Ill see who I think the best are for Getafe,” he added.

MATCH FACTS: Getafe vs Barcelona
  • The previous round brought Getafe its first win of the season. It visited Leganes and won 2–1. It was the first match Getafe managed to score. Armabarri and Jimenez were the scorers for Getafe. With 4 points, it is currently sitting at the 10th place in the league table.
  • Barcelona after three weeks, has three clean-sheets wins. In the previous round it hosted Espanyol and won 5–0. Messi scored a hat-trick while Pique and Suarez scored the other two goals. Needless to say, Barcelona is sitting at the top of the league table.
  • Getafe and Barcelona met 28 times in total while Barcelona has won 20 times. Most of them were clean-sheets wins. Last time they played together was in the season 2015/2016 of Primera Division. Barcelona won both legs with a combined score of 8-0.

Spanish and European champions Real Madrid began the campaign by winning the continental and Spanish Super Cups to firmly establish as the country's dominant force, but its last two league results have brought it down to earth. It travels to high-flying Real Sociedad in Sundays late kickoff without the suspended duo of left back Marcelo and Ronaldo, who serves the final match of a five-game domestic ban for pushing a referee.

Atletico Madrid will play its first game at its new Wanda Metropolitano stadium as it hosts pointless Malaga while Levante hosts Valencia in the Valencian derby.

Atletico Madrid vs Malaga
  • Atletico Madrid comes into the match looking to bounce back from a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Sevilla last time out. It may have scored seven in its last home game against a fairly hopeless Granada defence but it will find Malaga a much tougher nut to crack.
  • The Andalusian team have lost its last two home league games — it has not lost three in a row since October 2010, under Jesualdo Ferreira
  • On the other hand, Atlético de Madrid is unbeaten in its last six away games in the top flight, its best streak since September 2015.