Barcelona grind it out against Getafe
Barcelona versus Getafe was never going to be a pretty game and so it proved as the Catalans ground out a gritty win against Quique Sanchez Flores’s side.
It’s not a game that will live long in the memory but, as Xavi said, it’s three points without playing well that keeps Barca’s title challenge on track.
Another week on top of La Liga! pic.twitter.com/xTwQBiq7Dc— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 22, 2023
Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Pedri were key to the win on a day when Barca were without key players such as Ronald Araujo, Frenkie de Jong, and Robert Lewandowski.
Barca also lost Andreas Christensen at half-time but still managed to see off the challenge from Getafe and now look ahead to a tough test against Real Sociedad in the cup.
Ter Stegen comes up clutch again
Barca stopper Ter Stegen kept yet another clean sheet on Sunday and has still only conceded six league goals this season. That’s now 13 shut-outs from 17 matches in La Liga. It’s a quite extraordinary record.
Getafe did have chances too but could not find a way past the German wall. Perhaps his best moment was a save from Borja Mayoral in the first half when the striker looked odds on to score.
Xavi was full of praise for his No. 1 after the match and made it clear he thinks he’s back to his very best form this season after a couple of underwhelming campaigns.
“We are seeing the best Marc-Andre ter Stegen in a long time,” he said. “In one-on-ones, he was spectacular, he is a leader for the group, a valuable player — it is important the goalkeeper saves you points.”
Ter Stegen is saving Barca all kinds of points this season and his return to form has been a massive boost for Xavi’s side.
Pedri should keep on shooting
While Ter Stegen was performing heroics at one end of the pitch it was left to Pedri to provide the vital contribution at the other end.
The midfielder duly obliged with the only goal of the game, poking home from close range after some good work from Raphinha down the left.
Xavi has long urged Pedri to score more goals and take more shots and there are a few signs this season that the youngster has now added something to his game.
2 - @Pedri has scored in consecutive games (2 goals) for the first time for @FCBarcelona in all competitions (98 games played). His last three goals came with his only three shots on target. Magic. pic.twitter.com/INcnOWVJjo— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 22, 2023
Pedri now has five goals in all competitions for the season, as many as he managed throughout the previous campaign, and is on track to reach double figures.
Goals from midfield are something that Barca have lacked in recent seasons and the more that Pedri can supply the better.
Xavi taking no risks with Christensen
Andreas Christensen is emerging as another vital player for Barcelona this season and Xavi was certainly taking no risks with the Dane against Getafe.
The center-back reported a little hamstring trouble at half-time and was promptly withdrawn, showing exactly how important he’s become to Xavi.
It’s worth noting that Christensen also played a role in the goal. It was his clever first-time pass that sent Raphinha scampering away to set up Pedri.
Christensen is the signing of the season.— Abe (@FIFA_Abe) January 22, 2023
That pass pic.twitter.com/J4anBRaMEk
Eric Garcia was thrown on in his place and Xavi said after the game he was hopeful that Christensen would be fine for the visit of Real Sociedad on Wednesday.
Christensen’s signing in the summer on a free transfer was barely celebrated, but he and Ronald Araujo are clearly Xavi’s favored central defensive pair right now.
Another assist for Raphinha
Raphinha followed up a strong showing against Ceuta in the Copa del Rey with a crucial assist against Getafe.
The Brazilian played on both flanks on Sunday night, but the assist came from the left where he’s already made it clear he does not want to play this season.
With Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres currently suspended Raphinha currently has a great chance to stake a claim for a more prominent role.
Raphinha’s only started eight of his 16 appearances this season but now has five assists for the campaign. Only Ousmane Dembele, who has seven, has more for Xavi’s side.
Barca will still want more, much more, from their big-money summer signing but he should get another start next time out against Girona.