Having sat through this match again, some words come to mind. Most are pretty negative, and some of my prevailing thoughts will make up the Weekly Review later. First I have to dissect each player’s performance in FC Barcelona’s first defeat for 28 games. In that stretch Barcelona have won four trophies, something that I found extremely difficult to believe after the match had ended. Yesterday’s performance was pitiful, and I maintain that Getafe were playing for the draw. Their goal was fairly fortunate in that Barcelona really should have defended the corner better, but it counts all the same.
Unlike the other occasions where Barcelona have dropped points this season, the performance had no positives. Against Sevilla we would have won but for Javi Varas, and for every other match we can say at least we created chances. Yesterday was the complete opposite, and now it is down to Pep Guardiola. It is clear that the players aren’t as motivated as previous seasons, but it remains to be seen whether Pep himself is disinterested, or whether he can rally the troops for some sort of a comeback. Rayo Vallecano may give us some answers...
Victor Valdes 4.0
Valdes was no-where near his best. He flapped at almost every cross and even took out Busquets instead of the ball on one particular delivery. At times like this, you need the keeper to be commanding, or to not do anything at all. The fact that he felt the need to rush out for most crosses must have dented the confidence of the defense, perhaps contributing to the calamity that was Juan Valera’s goal.
Dani Alves 4.5
In amongst the publicised demise of David Villa and perhaps some other Barcelona players, one that has slipped under the radar is Dani Alves. Once again the Brazilian was far from his peak, and despite offering himself as an attacking option he did not cause many threats to the Getafe defense. His block on Diego Castro was impressive, maybe even saving a goal, and when he somehow convinced the referee that it was a goal kick, it was probably the highlight of his game.
Gerard Pique 4.0 Yellow
It pains me to think that this is how well Pique plays without Carles Puyol alongside him. Gerard barely imposed himself as a physical presence in the defense, with Miku running him ragged a couple of times. He did push up late on in search of that equaliser, and at that point Barcelona part-way turned into your bog standard side, thumping the ball into the box at every opportunity. Pique really should have done better at the corner that led to the goal, though to blame him entirely would be harsh.
Eric Abidal 3.5
It took me the second play through of this match to realise Abidal actually played. On evidence of this display only, it might not be the worst thing if he did not renew his contract. Last year he was superb at centre-back, this season has been the opposite. It amazes me to think he was one of the candidates for the Ballon D’Or, ever since his illness he has been a shadow of his old self, with this game no exception.
Maxwell 4.0 Yellow Subbed off
I wonder whether he was having a battle with Abidal to see who could do the least. After his good performances in recent weeks I was optimistic for him, but now I will actively campaign to see him removed from the side. Maxwell was average going forward, anonymous defensively and given Adriano’s recovery, will not be playing again for a long time.
Sergio Busquets 3.0 Yellow
Almost as if he was trying to get enough footage for a Christmas DVD of footballing mistakes, Sergio Busquets had a dismal 90 minutes. I doubt Valdes hit him hard enough to put him off the rest of the game, but I guess it could be an excuse for his hesitance on the Getafe goal. No doubt his "jump" for that header caused the watching audience to recoil in horror, while his dive in the latter stages of the match surprised no-one. Worst part? He actually did well to regain possession there and could have set up a great chance instead of face-planting the turf.
Xavi Hernandez 4.5
Testament to the high standard he has set himself, this was a poor performance from the Spaniard. He did not move the ball quickly enough in the final third, and his corners were simply shocking. However, his free-kick towards David Villa was brilliant, and it is a shame that El Guaje could not convert that golden opportunity when the scores were level.
Thiago Alcantara 3.5 Subbed off
After so much hope surrounding Thiago, it was natural that he would find it hard to deliver as consistently as Xavi. However, no-one quite expected him to be so quiet. When in possession he did not pose a threat to the Getafe defense, mainly as NO-ONE offered themselves as an option. As a result, all he could do was pass sideways and we think he played worse than he probably did.
David Villa 3.5
Quite simply, he was continuing his recent run of poor form. That goal against Zaragoza was merely an exception to the rule, as it seems Villa is in worse form than his compatriot Fernando Torres. A player of his calibre should have done better with the headed chance, and really he should work on his decision-making. There were times that were crying out for Villa to cut inside and shoot where he would continue down the line, and vice versa. A day to forget.
Alexis Sanchez 4.0
At least he had chances. Sanchez got into good positions, and was unlucky at times not to score. When all was said and done he didn’t perform up to expectation, but it is easy to forget just how little game-time he has had in this particular system, it will take time for him to adapt and settle in. That is why he gets a higher rating than Villa.
Lionel Messi 4.5
Some are saying that Messi was to blame for the defeat, but I cannot see why. I admit, he was extremely quiet, but this can be attributed to a couple of key factors. Pep’s attempt to facilitate David Villa in the centre meant that La Pulga was shifted to the wing, where he is ineffective. Not only that, but the lack of movement ensured that Messi had to drop deep to receive the ball just like he does for Argentina. To expect him to create chances, or beat defenders and score when he gets the ball 40 yards out is unrealistic. Despite bursting into life in added on time, he could not save anything from the match.
Seydou Keita 2.5
Why? Bringing on Keita for Thiago was a ludicrous decision, and it "paid off" when Keita was at fault for the Getafe goal. He didn’t do anything offensively, nor defensively, hence the abysmal rating.
Pedro Rodriguez 4.5
Pedro did OK considering the circumstances. It was too late for him to truly grow into the game, and as a result his decisions were rushed, although he did at least register a shot on target. It was clear that he has been out injured though.
Isaac Cuenca 4.0
This is a harsh rating for the winger, but all down to Pep. Why did he wait so long to bring him on when both Sanchez and Villa were playing so badly? His arrival did herald more creativity, but mostly out of desperation rather than sheer quality.