After yesterday’s events in the Champions League draw which saw the Blaugrana paired with the Ukrainians Shaktar Donetsk, and a possible El Clasico semi-final, the attention has been turned back to domestic affairs, with Barcelona playing host to another Madrid side, Getafe.
It has been an intense week for the Champions. First came the draw at Sevilla, then came the tragic news surrounding Eric Abidal, his successful surgery and 10 players being tested for doping after allegations made by a Spanish radio station about the very subject, and of course the Champions League draw.
So you could be forgiven for forgetting that Guardiola and his men actually have a game today. Getafe are in 11th place but are in grave danger of dropping into the tight battle for survival that is unfolding below them. A trip to the Camp Nou was not what they wanted.
They are not great travellers with 13 points on the road, and have only scored 12 goals. Their manager is rumoured to be on his way out at the end of the season, and our very own Barca B manager, Luis Enrique is one of the men linked with the Getafe job.Getafe are also in a poor run of form at the moment and from the last 6 games have collected a joint league worst 4 points. At this point, you are surely thinking what an easy game this will be.
I am too, but no game is as straight-forward as it seems, and it will be interesting to see the team’s reaction on the pitch to Abidal’s ill-health. Something like this will either act as a motivator to a big win, or as a distraction and a poor performance.
It should also be mentioned that this will be the last game before the international break. This will hopefully give some of the players a chance to rest and return to their best after those matches.
The line-up for today’s game is likely to be a little different to normal, Valdes is sure to be in goal but ahead of him, who knows? Alves and Maxwell have taken knocks in the last week, but I anticipate a defence of Alves-Pique-Fontas-Adriano. Special mention must be given to the B team recruit, who I believe should enable the club to make one less signing in the summer.
His last game for the first team saw him play a diagonal ball across field straight to Pedro for a goal. It was some pass I can assure you, and the player likened to Pique will hopefully flourish in the place of the Frenchman.
Ahead of them, it should be the normal midfield trio, but I am unsure as to whether Iniesta will be used in attack or in his usual position. Personally, I think Bojan should be given a chance to continue his run of form and Iniesta kept at his most dangerous in midfield.
Last week saw the whole footballing world hold its breath when Messi clashed with Javi Varas, but thank God he was relatively unharmed, and despite missing training for the majority of the week, should be back to wreak havoc on his good friend Oscar Ustari in Getafe’s goal.
In Parejo, they have a fantastic player that will look to shine against Xavi and Iniesta, but I feel their approach will be too “soft” and Barcelona will profit hugely.
My Prediction: 4-0 with goals from Messi (3) and Bojan.