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*Award Special* FC Barcelona: Jornada 15 – Getafe CF Scouting Report & Key Battles

Hello and welcome to the scouting report and key battles weekly column! This week’s award special will take a closer look at Getafe’s transfers, form, strategy, a few things you (probably) didn't know about the club, predicted line-up and key battles.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

With award season approaching, we think it makes sense to award and recognise something. I wasn't sure what to award at first, but then I remembered that I have seen some absolutely top-notch football-related adverts this year. There was of course the issue of linking it to Getafe, and we have the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (the goal scorer of winning goal away to Getafe in 2009 whilst playing for Barcelona) to thank for that. I have narrowed it down to six adverts released in 2014 and it will be up to you to vote and decide on the winner. As you expect, the competition is fierce, and some adverts, such as the McDonald's, Adidas, Puma and BBC World Cup ones have just missed out on the shortlist.

The first nominee is Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Volvo advert or "an experience" as a friend of mine (Mustafa Mohammed) aptly and correctly put it. Amazing from beginning to end. It's in Swedish but with English subtitles. It features Zlatan's family; his sons Vincent and Maximillian, and wife Helena. The song is the traditional Swedish national anthem. Epic.

The second nominee is Nike's "The Last Game" advert. Nike's "Winner Stays" also narrowly missed out. I thought the animation was a step above. Unique and fantastic all-round and a great story to boot.

The third nomination goes to the Chilean miners World Cup 2014 advert. It adds real emotion and a human touch to things. Powerful stuff.

The fourth nominee is a Spanish national team one created by Movistar. It's another top-quality one. I haven't found a subtitled version, but the images speak louder than words. Spain stars Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Santi Cazorla, Pepe Reina and Juanfran are all given a makeover to disguise themselves before they go off to work with ordinary people in a variety of different professions.

The fifth nominee is Beats by Dr Dre featuring Neymar in a creative and imaginative advert.

The last nominee is Arsenal's family by Europcar, a really funny and insightful advert. Easily one of the best of 2014.

Getafe are often referred to as Madrid's forgotten club. Everyone knows all about Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano, yet Getafe is often neglected.  One of the biggest stories of the season is surely Pedro Leon purposefully not being registered to play in La Liga by his own team due to monetary reasons. He has since been granted the right to play by a Madrid judge.

"Thank you to Don Borja Villena Cortés for granting me what the CSD has denied me," wrote Pedro Leon on social media.

For those interested in further reading, check out this and this article on Pedro Leon. Also, do read the article by Garreth Nunn titled "Getafe: From favourites to fools" if interested in another current perspective on the club.

I would like to end this section by taking you back to better (at the same time bittersweet) times for Getafe fans. They were in a Uefa Cup quarter-final against Bayern Munich and only seconds away from advancing to the next round before a Luca Toni header broke Getafe hearts in extra-time.


Getafe are one of the very few clubs in La Liga who haven't spent anything on transfer fees. Not a single penny. Nada.

They have made a couple of excellent free signings in Vicente Guaita from Valencia and Karim Yoda from Astra Giurgiu. Getafe have also made a string of useful loans in Fernando Aristeguieta from Nantes, Fredy Hinestroza from La Equidad, Emiliano Velazquez from Atletico Madrid, Naldo from Udinese, Baba from Sevilla and Michel from Valencia.

Getafe haven't had many departures, but one of them is high-profile (or as high-profile as it gets with Getafe). Miguel Angel Moya has left to Atletico Madrid for £2,64 million. Another is Adrian Colunga to Brighton for an undisclosed fee.

Getafe have also had a few players leave on a free. This includes Jaime Gavilan to Levante, Pedro Mosquera to Elche, Ciprian Marica to Konyaspor, Borja to Atl. Kolkata, Rafa to Paderborn, Michel to Maccabi Haifa and Julio Cesar to Fluminese.


Getafe's season so far can be summed up with one word; inconsistent. Their start to the season (first five matches) could almost not have been any worse with four losses and only one win. They have since improved by winning more (4) than either drawing (3) or losing (3). In terms of positives, they are unbeaten in two and thrashed Eibar 3:0 the last time they were at home. Getafe will be more than happy with their start so far this season. Taking everything into account, including their non-existent transfer fees budget, they have to be applauded. They are time and time again staying up at the expense of other more ‘illustrious' clubs.


Getafe are very strong at protecting a lead because they defend in numbers and put everything on the line. Further to this, they are strong at creating chances through individual skills due to their strong midfield and attack; they are also strong at counter-attacks and defending set-pieces.

Getafe also have weaknesses. They struggle to finish scoring chances which explains why they have only scored 11 goals in 14 appearances. Their passing is poor too, unsurprisingly considering that their defensive midfielders have a limited passing range. Getafe are also poor at defending attacks down the wings and against through balls.

In terms of style of play, Getafe like to attack down the left with the dangerous Fredy Hinestroza (who is suspended against Barcelona). They take a lot of long shots (and just shots in general), they are aggressive, love to play in a compact manner in their own half and rotate their fist eleven (stats courtesy of WhoScored).

Getafe have started with a 4-2-3-1 formation for the past 10 games and there is no reason to suggest that this won't be repeated on Saturday. Unlike Sergio with Espanyol who is unsure as to what his best tactics and formation is, Contra doesn't know who his best starting eleven is, especially among his attacking midfielders and strikers.

A Few Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Getafe CF

El Libero Guide writes: "Set in the far southern outskirts of Madrid, serving the community of the same name, Getafe rose through the ranks to reach the top flight in 2004. Even more remarkably, there they have stayed, enjoying the recent financial backing of the Royal Emirates Group. Even before the arrival of the Dubai-based owners, Getafe had made two cup finals and enjoyed two European campaigns.

The club was founded as Club Getafe Deportivo in the Marquesina bar in 1945 - pennants can still be seen in Getafe bars to this day, even though Deportivo only lasted until 1982. A year later, Getafe Club de Fútbol were founded, rising through the regional leagues and reaching the top flight in 2004 after a last-gasp win in the Canary Islands.

Under Bernd Schuster, the Dark Blues maintained a mid-table presence, reaching the cup final in 2007. Under Michael Laudrup, they repeated the feat in 2008, a season best remembered for a heart-stopping, extra-time, away-goals defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup. In 2010, a sixth-place league finish and cup run to the semi-final saw another Europa League campaign.

Getafe play in the southern suburbs of Las Margaritas at the modest, 17,000-capacity Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, named after one of the rare players to have turned out for both Barcelona and Real Madrid. Although Getafe-born, Pérez never played for his local side. Built in 1998, ‘Coliseum' is a rather grandiose name for this one-roofed, open bowl of blue seating banked up against the M45 motorway. Yet it has witnessed the quite remarkable rise of this otherwise modest local outfit, and no little top European action to boot.

Nonetheless, the Coliseum is rarely full, not even for derbies, so neutrals can watch some of Spain's best in action with only a relatively simple metro ride. All the same, after nearly a decade in the top flight, Getafe have been looking to move to a bigger, municipal stadium in the same neighbourhood."

Predicted Line-up

Valencia's number one not so long ago, Vicente Guaita, will start in goal. The right-back position will be between Juan Valera and Alvaro Arroyo. Emiliano Velazquez and Naldo will most probably be the preferred centre-back pairing, though Alexis remains in contention. The left-back is a massively problematic headache for Contra ahead of this game. Roberto Lago at left-back would be close to a certain starter as it gets in this fixture for Getafe (in the absence of certain starter Sergio Escudero), yet he is also injured and won't be able to start. Edu Paya is an option (he hasn't made a single appearance this season). I think Contra will prefer playing either Alexis or Arroyo in that position though.

The defensive pairing of Mehdi Lacen and Juan Rodriguez will form part of the double-pivot. Further forward Cosmin Contra loves to rotate. It's therefore less clear as to who will start. It is predicted that Karim Yoda will start on the right-wing, Pablo Sarabia will return following last week's suspension and Fredy Hinestroza would continue on the left-wing, but he's suspended. Michel or Diego Castro will therefore look to deputize.

Baba has recently returned to training much faster than anticipated following a muscle strain, but Lafita is the likely starter.

On paper, Getafe arguably have some of the best midfielders and attackers potentially on the substitutes bench in the second half of the division. This includes the likes of Pedro Leon, Alvaro Vazquez, Sammir, Michel, Diego Castro and Baba.

Possible XI (4-2-3-1): Guaita; Valera, Velazquez, Naldo, Alexis; Lacen, Rodriguez; Yoda, Michel, Sarabia; Lafita

Key Battles


Ability to break down v A compact defence: This is the battle which is usually key in this sort of matches. The attack usually either scores an early goal and then a few more, or does the opposite and struggles to even score one. There is no doubt that Barcelona will attack in numbers and that Getafe will defend as well as they can with their heart on their sleeves. It will be a fascinating battle.

Counter-attack v High defensive line: Getafe's counter-attack is good. Of course, it's not as good as the likes of Valencia, Sevilla, Almeria or Celta Vigo, but it is at least as good as Espanyol's. They will know that they will in all likelihood get a few chances against Barcelona. This is because Barcelona have made a habit of making individual (and collective) errors a few times in most games. Barcelona's high defensive line will therefore need to be fully focused at all times if they are to keep a clean-sheet.

Set-pieces v Set-pieces: How will the two teams fare in set-pieces? Getafe and Barcelona are both poor at attacking corners having only scored 0 and 2 respectively as per Squawka. According to WhoScored, Barcelona are very strong at defending set-pieces, whilst Getafe are strong. 

Complacency v Hunger: If Barcelona underestimate Getafe then there is the potential for a low-scoring draw. This is more likely to happen since the match follows a comprehensive win over PSG. Yet with Barcelona's current form, you wouldn't put it past them winning by a good margin.


Velazquez v Suarez: Velazquez has arguably been one of Getafe's best performers this season. The Uruguayan is very strong at tackling, blocking the ball and generally just putting himself about. His passing leaves something to be desired yet he comes to this match off a MOTM performance against Levante. Suarez scored against PSG and is generally in great form. Expect Getafe's somewhat makeshift defence to struggle against Barcelona, and MSN, in particular.

Yoda v Alba: Karim Yoda has been a revelation at Getafe so far this season and on top of his generally impressive play, he has contributed to 4 goals and 1 assist; by far their top goal scorer. Alba was dropped against PSG and will be out to impress Lucho in a match where both he and Alves are expected to be recalled. Also, watch out for Barcelona's right flank vs Getafe's left, where Getafe's first choice left-back and right-winger will be unavailable to due injury and suspension, respectively.

Mehdi Lacen v Ivan Rakitic: Mehdi Lacen (alongside Juan Rodriguez) will be charged with trying to stop Barcelona's midfielders from finding the attackers (easier said than done). Lacen is a workhorse on the pitch and is strong at tackling, intercepting balls as well as blocking. His passing is not the best though, and that weakness is likely to be exploited against a team as adept at keeping the ball as Barcelona. Rakitic was another player dropped against PSG, he will therefore be eager to take charge of the midfield battle (against the weakened Getafe LB and LM positions) and continue his fine La Liga form.   

Final Thoughts

Getafe haven't conceded more than two goals at home all season, but there is a first time for everything. I think Getafe will in all likelihood score, (although this is by no means a certainty with them having one of the worst attack in the league, only Getafe have scored less) but that Barcelona will score more. I think the outcome will be 3-1 to Barcelona.

There is a lot to respect about Getafe, not least the fact that they have been in the top flight for 10 years and counting despite all the troubles they have encountered. I therefore wish them the best of luck for the rest of the season.

Thank you for reading, take care and goodbye until next time!

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