Barcelona were held to a goalless draw at Getafe on Sunday as their winless run in all competitions stretched to three games.
Xavi Hernandez’s side remain 11 points clear of Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga, but their race to a first league title since 2019 has been slowed down by back-to-back stalemates in the league.
Getafe, who came close to winning the game late on through Borja Mayoral, edge four points clear of the relegation zone after holding the leaders at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
1. Drab Barca lacking creativity
Barca never looked like breaking down a resilient Getafe side as their scoreless streak reached 290 minutes in all competitions. They have not found the back of the net since the 70th minute of their 4-0 win over Elche on April 1. Since then, they have lost 4-0 to Madrid in the Copa del Rey and been held to goalless draws by first Girona and now Getafe.
Sunday’s game once again highlighted the importance of the Barca players who are currently missing. Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha led the attack — both forced saves from David Soria and the Brazilian hit the post — but neither have quite been up to the grade in recent weeks. The absence of Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Ousmane Dembele and Andreas Christensen has been telling.
The loss of Pedri has been especially significant for Barca. Lewandowski is certainly missing the midfielder’s creativity. With Pedri in the team, the Polish striker averages 0.6 goals per 90 minutes and 2.7 shots. Without him, those numbers drop to 0.2 and 1.5 respectively. Pedri could return next week, when Barca host Atletico Madrid at Spotify Camp Nou. Despite their lead over Madrid at the top, they could really do with a win to help them close in on the league title.
Ansu and Ferran’s futures at Camp Nou look increasingly uncertain. At Getafe, despite missing several players. Xavi opted to leave them both on the bench in favour of playing two left-backs, with Alejandro Balde starting ahead of Jordi Alba alongside Lewandowski and Raphinha in attack.
With Barca chasing a goal, both Ansu, making his 100th appearance for the club, and Ferran were introduced for the final 20 minutes. Ansu played on the left and Ferran through the middle, just off Lewandowski. Neither were able to affect the game, though, and the rumours will continue about what awaits the two forwards beyond the summer.
3. Precious point for Getafe at the bottom
Getafe had their chances. Former Barca forward Munir El Haddadi sent an early header wide and Mayoral flashed a good opening just wide in the latter stages of the game. However, Quique Sanchez Flores’ side would have settled for a draw against the run-away LaLiga leaders before the game.
It was a deserved point and one which takes them four points clear of the drop zone. Perhaps more importantly, it will give them a confidence boost ahead of three season-defining games. Next up are relegation rivals Mallorca, Almeria and Espanyol.
Best and worst performers
David Soria, GK, Getafe: Made saves from Lewandowski and Raphinha you would expect him to make but that was enough to stand out in a match lacking quality.
Raphinha, FW, Barcelona: Came the closest to breaking the deadlock, hitting the post and forcing a late save from Soria. Was furious to be taken off late on.
Luis Milla, MF, Getafe: An impressive performance from the midfielder, who did well with and without the ball.
Gavi, MF, Barcelona: Booked inside the first two minutes and completed just 11 passes throughout the game — a staggeringly low amount for a Barca midfielder.
Jules Kounde, DF, Barcelona: Started at centre-back and the moved to right-back, where his end product in the final third was too often lacking.
Robert Lewandowski, FW, Barcelona: His form since the World Cup continues to be a concern, although it is also true he is not getting good service.
Highlights and notable moments
Some fans climbed to the top of a tree to catch a glimpse of the match.
These fans climbed a tree to watch Getafe vs. Barcelona. pic.twitter.com/uLCSq1oOOy
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 16, 2023
Ansu Fati reached the century mark in appearances for Barcelona.
💯 Games for @ANSUFATI!
Congratulations, Ansu 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/tPe1AArSJo
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 16, 2023
Barca’s poor run of form continues as they sit 11 points ahead of Real Madrid with nine games to go.
Getafe 0-0 Barcelona
A second-straight draw in LaLiga and a third-consecutive goalless game for Barça 😳 pic.twitter.com/NAh2aSRgfK
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 16, 2023
After the match: What the players/managers said
Barcelona’s goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen: “It doesn’t feel like a great point. We had good chance in the first half. It’s a struggle here with the usual games — a dry pitch — it’s difficult. You have to be clinical in these matches. They fight for everything, it’s really tough. They also had a good chance.”
Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez: “The pitch held us back. We expected it, we trained on a dry pitch on Saturday. It is difficult to play here and it is not good for the spectacle. The ball gets stuck, it’s even bad for Getafe. It’s fundamental that the pitch is in good condition. But it is not an excuse and we have to get back on track. A point is not the worst considering how uncomfortable it was.
“We are having a good season in LaLiga but we can’t go to sleep now. We have important games coming up. I hope we can have two or three players back next week. It’s not an excuse, we have a good squad and I am satisfied. From there, though, we have to minimise injuries and get players back.”
Getafe manager Quique Sanchez-Flores: “They want (the pitch) quick, watered… I get that. We do what we have to do. We know it hampers out quick counters as well, which we have in our locker, but we have to do what we have to do.
“We had chances. Barca dominated play but we kept a good shape in defence and were quick in attack.”
Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)
– Barcelona has shut out its opponents in the first half of 24 of 29 of its LaLiga matches this season including 5 of its past 6.
– Barcelona: failed to score in consecutive LaLiga games for the first time since May-August 2022.
– Barcelona: Its nine goals allowed this season are the fewest in Europe’s top five leagues (next closest team has 20 — Atlético and Lazio, entering Sunday)
Getafe: Their fight to avoid the relegation zone continues with paying a visit to Mallorca on April 23.
Barcelona: Back at the Camp Nou on April 23, the Xavi’s team host third place Atletico Madrid (stream the match on ESPN+, 10.15 a.m. ET).
Following that game, the Blaugrana visit Rayo Vallecano on April 26.