2019/20 La Liga Matchday 20 Review – Barça edge out Granada in Setién’s first game

2019/20 La Liga Matchday 20 Review - Barça edge out Granada in Setién's first game

All eyes were on Camp Nou on Sunday night to see how Barcelona would shape up in their first game since appointing Quique Setien. Plenty had happened in the 9 games before that though with it generally being an excellent weekend for teams at the bottom with the exception of Leganes. Here is our La Liga matchday 20 review:

La Liga Matchday 20 Results, Expected Goals & Highlights

Friday 17th January 2020

Leganes 0-3 Getafe (xG: 0.28-1.96)

Saturday 18th January 2020

Levante 0-1 Alaves (xG: 1.15-2.11)

Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla (xG: 1.00-0.37)

Osasuna 0-0 Real Valladolid (xG: 1.63-0.61)

Eibar 2-0 Atletico Madrid (xG: 0.96-0.97)

Sunday 19th January 2020

Mallorca 4-1 Valencia (xG: 2.44-0.46)

Betis 3-0 Real Sociedad (xG: 2.15-0.24)

Villarreal 1-2 Espanyol (xG: 2.22-2.11)

Athletic Club 1-1 Celta Vigo (xG: 3.27-0.62)

Barcelona 1-0 Granada (xG: 1.42-0.18)

Links lead to Youtube highlights via the official LaLiga channel and may contain ads.

xG data via Understat

A clear Shift but an edgy Start for Setién’s Barça

Barcelona’s first game under Quique Setien was like a replica of many of the 61 year’s old home games in his second season as Betis boss. Barça completely dominated the ball, notching up over 80% possession but they struggled to break down a well-organised Granada defence that had come to sit deep and frustrate. With over an hour gone and no goals at Camp Nou, it was starting to get a bit edgy for anyone of a Barcelona persuasion, particularly when on a rare break, Yan Eteki rattled the woodwork for Granada.

However a combination of a red card for Granada’s German Sanchez and the introduction of Riqui Puig for his first league appearance of the season helped shift the momentum in Barça’s favour and they eventually won the game thanks to a goal that was right out of the Setien playbook. Predictably Leo Messi scored it but only after a few neat touches on the edge of the penalty area from Antoine Griezmann and Arturo Vidal which created the opening.

Real defeat Sevilla, Atleti lose – It’s a 2-horse Title Race

Elsewhere it felt like a significant weekend with results appearing to confirm what we already suspected. This is a two-horse title race. Real Madrid are right in it after they defeated Sevilla 2-1 at the Bernabeu thanks to an unlikely brace from Casemiro. The gap between those two sides is now 8 points (it would have been just 2 if Sevilla had sprung a surprise).

Real Madrid and Barcelona also now have an 8 point advantage on 3rd placed Atletico Madrid after they slipped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Eibar. It was the first time that Diego Simeone’s side have dropped points at Ipurua in the top flight and Atleti are now also surely out of title contention.

Vital wins for Mallorca & Espanyol, Despair for Leganes

Eibar’s win was a much-needed one given the results some of the teams below them got. Mallorca were inspired in the rain in Palma as they hammered Valencia 4-1 at Son Moix with Ante Budimir bagging a brace to continue his fine run of form. Bottom club Espanyol were also victorious, winning 2-1 at Villarreal to make it 4 points from 2 tough games since they appointed Abelardo. Meanwhile Celta Vigo got a decent point in Bilbao. The big losers were Leganes who were beaten 3-0 at home in the South Madrid derby against Getafe, just days after cashing in on star striker Youssef En-Nesyri who has joined Sevilla for €20m.

Matchday 20 in Numbers

  • Barcelona had 82.6% possession against Granada. No other team has had so much since Opta started recording data (2005/06) besides Pep Guardiola’s Barça (whose record was 84% in one game vs Racing Santander in 2011).
  • Despite the possession and a passing accuracy of 92%, all of the other 4 teams playing at home on Sunday created more Expected Goals than Barcelona (1.42).
  • Raul De Tomas scored his 1st league goal of the season in his league debut for Espanyol having failed to score in 7 appearances in the Portuguese Primeira Liga with Benfica.
  • No team in Europe’s big five leagues have conceded fewer goals than Real Madrid (13). Only Stade Reims in Ligue 1 can match them.
  • Athletic Club drew for the 4th league game in succession.

Up Next…

It’s the Copa del Rey this week with some intriguing last 32 ties including Barcelona’s trip to Ibiza and Real Madrid’s game in Salamanca against Unionistas. La Liga is back on Friday night with Osasuna taking on Levante. We will have match previews for all the games from matchday 21 which includes Barcelona’s trip to Valencia.

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About Mark Sochon 2072 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has been writing about Spanish football since 2014 and regularly attends and covers matches across Spain. His work has also been published by various newspapers and websites including These Football Times, World Soccer and Guardian Sport. Available for freelance work: marksochon (at) hotmail.co.uk