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La Liga: FC Barcelona vs Getafe CF: Match Preview

A preview of Barcelona's midweek La LIga clash with Getafe CF at the Camp Nou

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

FC Barcelona can move one step closer to securing the La Liga title tomorrow when they welcome Madrid’s third club to the Catalan capital, as Getafe CF prepare to face the Blaugrana juggernaut at the Camp Nou. Barça have been in incredible form thus far in 2015, while Getafe continue to serve as the embodiment of mediocrity, although that may be all the more reason for the hosts to ensure that they take tomorrow’s match seriously.

After all, with the media and fans united in predicting an emphatic home win, the last thing we can afford is for the players to believe that hype and follow up with a lazy performance. Whether you’re welcoming Getafe CF, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich into your stadium, any opposing team will punish laziness – and at this crucial stage of the season, any misstep could prove fatal in the race for the title.

Real Madrid might not be at their best, but they are keeping pace with the Blaugrana as their 4-2 victory over Celta Vigo at Balaidos kept them just two points away from reclaiming top spot. As Los Blancos get ready to welcome lowly UD Almeria to the Santiago Bernabeu, we can probably bank on another win for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, ergo, we need a result against their city rivals.

On paper, that might seem like a given – I mean, how could it not be with the talent we possess all over the field – yet the form guide suggests otherwise. Earlier in the season, we travelled to the Alfonso Perez and drew a blank. At the tail-end of last season, we welcomed Getafe to the Camp Nou knowing that a win would have moved us one step closer to the title – not dissimilar to this season – and guess what, Getafe escaped with a 2-2 draw.

It just goes to show, we can never take anything for granted. Sure, some rotation might do us good tomorrow, but the key is that the players, no matter who they might be, take this one seriously. Without that attitude...well, we might just see our title hopes slip away.



Thankfully, there is no indication that Barça are going to take this one lightly. It’s simply not in Luis Enrique’s vocabulary, let alone his coaching manual. Every second of every game has to be played with intensity, with spirit, with fight. Since the players bought into his teachings around the turn of the year, our results have spoken for themselves. So long as we keep along the righteous path, the chances are that the La Liga title will be headed back to Catalunya in a months’ time.

And if we do ultimately emerge victorious, it will be a testament to the entire squad. At one stage or another, just about everyone has chipped in and given their all; the only exceptions being third-choice goalkeeper, Jordi Masip, our favourite summer signing, Douglas, and our second favourite summer signing, Thomas Vermaelen.

That might all be about to change though; one the source of ridicule and derision, Thomas Vermaelen has now been passed fit, for realsies this time, and the Belgian defender could therefore be in line to make his debut. Potentially.

The suspension of Jordi Alba leaves us a little short at left-back, although throwing an out of practice Vermaelen in at full-back would be a recipe for disaster. Heck, even putting him in at centre-half would be enough to give me a heart attack. Fortunately, there are seats that will need to be warmed on the Barça bench, and maybe a late cameo could help ease the former Arsenal skipper back into action later on, once the three points are secure.

But if Vermaelen isn’t starting, then who will?

Well, Claudio Bravo will start in goal seeking to keep a record-breaking 20th clean sheet of the La Liga season, eclipsing the 19 kept by Thibaut Courtois last season. Not bad for someone who should have been benched by Marc-André ter Stegen, no?

Well, moving swiftly on before I spark a war amongst Culés, I’m torn between predicting full scale changes, and the more logical conclusion which is that Lucho will rest more players at the weekend, just prior to the Bayern match. Still, I think there’s a healthy medium and that’s what I expect to see tomorrow. Jordi Alba is suspended so Adriano Correia will come in on the left-flank, but I expect to see Dani Alves retain his place on the other side.

In the centre of defense, don’t be surprised if Javier Mascherano retains his place to start alongside Jeremy Mathieu, although like most Culés, I too would love to see Marc Bartra in the line-up, possibly with a view to starting Mascherano at pivote on Saturday.

Speaking of, Sergio Busquets could and probably will continue to serve as Barça’s midfield anchor tomorrow, although the recent re-emergence of Sergi Roberto has given Luis Enrique more options than we’ve perhaps ever had in holding midfield. Now we have Busi as first-choice, with both Mascherano and Roberto capable deputies, particularly for a match like this.

Maybe Roberto will get that extended run-out on Saturday against Cordoba, but for now, with eight days to go until that clash with Bayern, Busquets should continue. Ahead of him, expect to see Ivan Rakitić restored to the starting line-up, possibly with Xavi captaining the side alongside him – bugt don’t count out Rafinha Alcântara, particularly after Enrique spent a good portion of his pre-match press conference waxing lyrical about the Brazilian midfielder.

Moving onto the attack, Lionel Messi will continue to start in attack, although I suspect that he will be moved back into his old false nine spot to hand Luis Suarez a little rest. At the Camp Nou, we can probably afford to rest Suarez more than away from home where the added dimension he brings to the attack is more likely to be of vital importance. At least, with the larger pitch and general home crowd advantage, I expect a frontline of Messi, Pedro and Neymar to be far too strong for Getafe.


A solid, disciplined performance from Getafe was key to securing a point the last time these two sides met back in mid December – but in recent weeks, Getafe have struggled to replicate that form. They travelled to the Nuevo San Mames and were annihilated 4-0 by Athletic Bilbao, then perhaps more embarrassingly, they welcomed Levante to the Alfonso Perez on Saturday, only to lose 0-1 courtesy of a solitary goal from Victor Casedesus. A stark improvement will be needed tomorrow if they have any hopes of securing another unlikely draw.


Barcelona: WDWWWW

Getafe: LWWDLL


Getafe CF 0-0 FC Barcelona – 13th December 2014 – La Liga

A drab, goalless draw was the best that Barça could muster on this winter evening, as Getafe frustrated Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez en route to a memorable point.


Barcelona (4-3-3): Bravo; Alves, Mascherano, Mathieu, Adriano; Busquets, Rakitić, Xavi; Pedro, Messi, Neymar

Getafe (4-2-3-1): Guaita; Vigaray, Naldo, Velasquez, Escudero; Lacen, Rodriguez; Leon, Sarabia, Castro; Diawara


Ain’t no stopping the Barça freight train – 4-0 to the Blaugrana.

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