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

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A recap of Barcelona's dismal goalless draw with lowly Getafe CF at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Advantage: Real Madrid. With a drab goalless draw at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez on Saturday afternoon, FC Barcelona conceded two more points in the title race, leaving themselves now four points adrift of Carlo Ancelotti’s runaway league leaders. All throughout the 90 minutes, Barcelona struggled with the pitch, the weather and worst of all, themselves, serving up nothing but disappointment in arguably their worst performance of the season.

Getafe

Barcelona

Possession

24%

76%

Total Shots

4

23

Shots on Target

2

2

Corners

4

5

Fouls

24

8

Offsides

3

4

Yellow Cards

1

0

Red Cards

0

0



Luis Enrique made two changes to the team that defeated RCD Espanyol 5-1 last weekend, replacing the injured Neymar with in-form Pedro Rodriguez, and dropping Javier Mascherano in favour of Jeremy Mathieu. As such, compared to midweek this selection heralded the return of the standard Barça 4-3-3; Xavi, Rakitić and Busquets in midfield. Two conventional full-backs in Dani Alves and Jordi Alba not to mention the return of Claudio Bravo. Andrés Iniesta may have been on the bench, but this was arguably our strongest available line-up; surely Getafe CF wouldn’t be able to stop the Blaugrana?

***

An unusual kick-off time, a far from glamorous venue and an unfashionable opponent; perhaps Barcelona weren’t playing Getafe on Saturday afternoon, but they were actually playing themselves. They were squaring off against complacency and against motivation. They weren’t playing for the top spot in a UEFA Champions League group in front of their own fans at the Camp Nou against Paris Saint-Germain; this was a different challenge. How would they react to playing in such different circumstances?

Based on their start, it was going to take them some time to adjust to their surroundings. The tempo was slow in the sense that the passing was accurate, but certainly not very crisp. The movement was lazy at best, and at worst, non-existent. Thankfully, Getafe weren’t much better themselves, making for an odd opening phase of play in Madrid. Neither team had threatened. Neither team had even made much progress in the final third; instead, it was bogged down in the centre and in midfield where Barça were comfortable to retain possession.

In time, Barcelona slowly shifted the focus from possession to creating chances, albeit in a typically lazy fashion. Instead of pushing the tempo and increasing the number of passes in the final third, we went more traditional: route one, right to Luis Suarez who was acting as a target man of sorts. His hold-up play wasn’t great, but it was enough to create the first half-chance of the game as a loose ball fell to Lionel Messi in the area, but in amongst a sea of Getafe defenders the Argentine forward couldn’t get much power on his shot. Vicente Guaita collected the tame effort and cleared the danger with ease.

Legitimate penalty appeals for each side followed, both ignored by the referee and all of a sudden, it was like the injustice had finally spurred each side into life. Some actual reactions and emotions from the players – a realisation that this might not be the UEFA Champions League final, but it was an important match nonetheless.

The worrying thing was, Getafe were arguably reacting better. Their appeal came from a simple counter-attack spearheaded by Angle Lafita and around the half-hour mark, Lafita was at it again. Driving at the Barça defense, Lafita alone had us on the back-foot and cutting onto his favoured right foot, Lafita tried his luck at goal. And what an effort it was; it had power, curl and placement; just about everything it needed, but Claudio Bravo was not in the mood to be beaten. Leaping to his left, Bravo clawed the ball around the post. Danger averted...for now.

Well, at least that solved the problem of not falling behind to Getafe. Now all we needed was someone to solve the problem of our impotent attack...Lionel Messi? Luis Suarez? Anyone?

No spark, no chances, no threat. Barcelona were playing poorly, not for the first time this season.

***

Second-half, no changes in personnel and in truth, not much change in the style of the match. The rain was teeming down in Madrid and Barça were still struggling. Both with themselves and with the conditions. But really, how much of a difference can a pitch and a bit of rain make? At least in comparison to a vastly superior playing budget (we’re talking a budget that’s probably 25-50 times bigger than Getafe’s), I refuse to believe that a difficult pitch can outweigh an extra €300 million of talent. Indeed, we were left with just one conclusion: Barcelona were under-performing.

Quite considerably.

Our only threat was coming from set pieces; Lionel Messi struck the woodwork with a free-kick and later forced a good save from Vicente Guaita from another dead-ball. Aside from those moments though, Barça were not troubling the Getafe defense. Suarez was anonymous, Messi was making little impact from open play and well, no-one was giving a good account of themselves.

It said it all when Gerard Piqué was arguably our most direct threat as he ventured forward on a dribble and saw a shot blocked. Piqué for heaven’s sake! We needed changes, fresh faces and we got them. Andrés Iniesta replaced Ivan Rakitić as Lucho tried to add a little creativity to the Barça ranks while Munir El Haddadi was also introduced for Pedro, aiming to play the role of super-sub and spare the Barcelona blushes.

Let’s face it, we needed a miracle. Why not Munir? Probably because our problems were more deep-set and no substitution in the world, bar perhaps the introduction of the injured Neymar was going to make a difference. Instead, we had Adriano Correia, who replaced Dani Alves at the suggestion of Gerard Piqué. Apparently, the Catalan centre-half had knowledge of an injury to the flying full-back, although I’m not entirely convinced given the way that Dani left the field.

Nevertheless, it didn’t make a difference. Suarez was still isolated in attack, Lionel Messi wasn’t his usual effervescent self (perhaps this is why Cristiano Ronaldo will claim his second consecutive Ballon d’Or?) and not even a fresh-legged Iniesta could get this midfield into shape. It got to a stage where I wondered why we didn’t just stick Piqué up top and be done with it. If we’re gonna serve up this dross in open play, why not go all out and just punt it into the box?

Heck, why don’t we just hand the title to Real Madrid right now? Might save us the next six months of effort...

Next up, Barça entertain SD Huesca at the Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey, in a completely meaningless second-leg. Until then, Visca el Barça!

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1 ThreePar 39
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8 Ruy Diaz 12
9 shubham2806 9
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12 Eddie Pundell 7
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21 UnderConstructionCule 4
22 syredeathtrooper 4
23 avyator 4
24 Bingiboy 3
25 abdulla0207 3
26 Pranav Balakrishnan 3
27 Staralfur 2
28 tilak 2
29 Inder Methil 2
30 Richzorz 2
31 El_Illusionista 2
32 Jonni 2
33 llamas612 1
34 limwx 1
35 CifuentesErick 1
36 Omniscius 1
37 craig00000 1
38 Uncharted_Almo 1
39 InstagramDictatorDracula 1
40 Piquénbauer 1
41 Youssefyasser 1
42 oddsbodiSkins 1
43 PlayerFan 1
44 milesbarca 1