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La Liga: Getafe CF 1-0 FC Barcelona: Match Review

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Even Messi had an off-day
Even Messi had an off-day

FC Barcelona fell to a shock defeat away to Getafe in the evening game in La Liga. With Real Madrid registering an easy win earlier, the onus was on the Blaugrana and they simply did not deliver, and never looked like doing so. It was a pedestrian effort from the boys in blue and red. Juan Valera's header settled the game with under half an hour remaining, much to the delight of the home fans.

Guardiola made four changes to the line-up that beat AC Milan 3-2, with Cesc Fabregas missing out as a precaution, and Carles Puyol presumably just being rested. Gerard Pique was restored to the defense, along with Dani Alves and Maxwell, while Alexis Sanchez slotted in upfront.

Barcelona started well, pressing high up the field and moving the ball around quickly. Dani Alves took a position far up the right-hand side, and his pass behind the Getafe backline found David Villa. El Guaje fired in a shot from the tight angle, but it was a straight-forward stop for Moya in the Getafe goal. Lionel Messi was a perfect example of Blaugrana pressure dispossessing the Getafe defenders, or at least hurrying them into a poor pass.

Messi had a decent opportunity on seven minutes with a free-kick 25 yards out, but his effort flew behind the goal and hit the stanchion, causing some confusion for some of the fans. Messi again tried to force the issue, going on a run, stuttering, but then slipping before he could get a shot off. Sure, he got up and sent a shot towards the goal, but it was a tame effort.

Pablo Sarabia was looking good for Getafe, at least on the rare occasions they ventured outside their own half. His free-kick into the area caused a whole heap of trouble, with Valdes jumping into Busquets, and the ball bouncing out for a corner kick. Back at the other end it was Alexis Sanchez with all the chances, but his finishing was not up to scratch, sending numerous efforts wide or into a wall of defenders. At least he was better than David Villa...

Getafe did have one of the better chances of the first half, as Miku outmuscled Eric Abidal, before nutmegging Pique with a cutback, but Diego Castro had his effort blocked by Dani Alves. It was a poor first half from the Blaugrana, and at this point, we all expected Pep to fix things at half-time, ready for a better showing in the second. Oh, the naivety...

The second half did start fairly promisingly with Thiago drawing a late challenge from Casquero, forcing the referee to produce a yellow card. From the resulting free-kick, Xavi whipped in a cross not dissimilar to the one last week for Pique’s goal, and this time Villa was on the end of it, but his header went well wide. Then it got progressively worse...

Barcelona were faced with an 11 man defense to break down, as per usual. However, there was little to no movement, no creativity; not anything resembling attacking prowess. Messi ran into cul-de-sacs, Villa disappeared completely, and Pep lost his mind. First he took off Thiago for Seydou Keita, and this turned out to be a huge mistake.

Pablo Sarabia delivered a fine out-swinging corner into the area, over the head of Gerard Pique. Sergio Busquets should have cleared it, but he didn’t jump high enough, and was caught ball-watching. In comes Juan Valera to head the ball home, cue delirium in the stands from the few Getafe supporters. Seydou Keita was supposed to be marking the goalscorer.

Guardiola sent on Pedro and Isaac Cuenca, but it was too late for them to really yield any impact. Barcelona did come close through Lionel Messi (who else), but his first chance was ruled out for offside after a one-two with Keita, and the second rebounded off the post. In truth, Getafe did not play for the win, but won. Barcelona however, didn’t seem to play for anything. That is the worrying thing.

Man of the Match assumes that someone played well, so really is pretty obsolete here...

Next up are Rayo Vallecano at the comforts of the Camp Nou, but in essence, every game becomes a must win from now on.

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