Barcelona will finish another weekend at the top of the La Liga table as they continued their unbeaten January with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Getafe at the Spotify Camp Nou. The visitors were as tough as expected and Barça played well below their usual standards and had to settle for a narrow margin to pick up all three points and continue their good run of results.
Getafe set up in a back five with a low block as expected and fired an early warning shot when Juan Iglesias scored a goal just three minutes in that was ruled out for offside, clearly showing from the first minute that they were going to be a tough opponent all night.
The visitors were solid at the back, very organized without the ball and quite physical when necessary. Barça just couldn’t find a way to string long passing sequences to try and find spaces inside the Getafe defense, and the first 20 minutes were quite tough to watch from a Barça perspective.
But the Blaugrana began playing with more clarity and intensity, and their high pressing started creating dangerous attacks in good positions when they got the ball back. And it was that high pressing that got them the opening goal: Alejandro Balde won the ball high up the pitch, and Raphinha found Pedri all alone inside the box to put the home team ahead.
Pedri almost went from hero to villain in a matter of minutes as a bad pass from the midfielder put Borja Mayoral all alone in front of Marc-André ter Stegen, but the Barça keeper made a magical save to keep his team in the lead. But Getafe were relentless in their approach and had another big chances on the counter, with former Blaugrana Carles Aleñá missing an easy cross to give Mayoral a tap-in by the slightest of margins.
At halftime, Barça had the lead but Getafe were very much alive and would no doubt feel confident in their chances of getting at least a point in the second half. Barça needed to step up their attacking play, cut down on the mistakes and score another goal or two to finish the job.
Barça didn’t step up their attacking play and most of the second half was played at a very slow pace with the Blaugrana dominating possession but still unable to create real chances with the ball, while Getafe continued with their strategy of staying compact at the back and hurting Barça on the counter.
But the visitors lacked the talent and the effectiveness to truly bother Ter Stegen in goal, so there were no real opportunities for either side as we reached the final 15 minutes. Barça badly needed a second goal to avoid any real trouble at the end, but couldn’t manufacture a chance and simply held on to the ball for the dying seconds. Getafe had one big chance in added time with a Latasa header, but Ter Stegen made another crucial save to keep the clean sheet.
The final whistle came to give Barça three more points, which are always the number one priority in such a tight race for the title, but the performance simply has to be better. Barça once again struggled heavily to attack a back five and were more vulnerable on the counter compared to recent weeks. This was a bad performance in every phase of the game, and it needs to improve so games against struggling teams such as Getafe aren’t as tense and difficult as this was.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto (Alonso 77’), Kounde, Christensen (Eric 46’), Balde (Alba 46’); Pedri, Busquets, Gavi; Raphinha (Kessie 62’), Fati, Dembélé
Goal: Pedri (35’)
Getafe: Soria; Suárez, Djené, Alderete, Duarte, Iglesias (Álvarez 84’); Mayoral (Portu 77’), Algobia (Villar 62’), Milla (Seoane 84’), Aleñá; Ünal (Latasa 84’)