Barcelona enjoy perfect start to 2019
Barcelona weren’t perfect against Getafe, far from it, and rode their luck more than a few times against a committed, feisty and hard-working home side.
The hosts will feel aggrieved to have had an early goal ruled out, also hit the post, and only Jaime Mata will know how he missed after going around Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
As Ernesto Valverde said after the match Getafe made Barcelona “suffer” but the champions held on and had enough to take all three points.
It marked the end to a perfect weekend for the champions who extended their lead at the top of the table to five points.
Before they had kicked off Atletico Madrid and Sevilla had both dropped points in a 1-1 draw, while Real Madrid had lost for the sixth time this season against Real Sociedad.
Barcelona now head towards the halfway stage with a clear lead at the top, a 10-point lead over Real Madrid, and in command of the title race. Job done.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez continue to make the difference
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez continue to lead the way in La Liga’s goalscorers charts. The Barcelona captain scored his 16th league goal against Getafe, the Uruguayan his 12th.
The two players have now combined for more goals than most of the teams in Spain’s top flight.
28 - @FCBarcelona strikers Lionel Messi (16) and Luis Suárez (12) have scored 28 @LaLigaEN goals this season, more than 16 teams in the competition. Duet. pic.twitter.com/mvH2JKalZa— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 6, 2019
Their two goals were pure quality too. Messi produced a brilliant touch to put the ball between David Soria’s legs before finishing from a tight angle.
The GOAT also came up with a contender for pass of the season during the game:
Lionel Messi, just stop it!— FOX Sports Football (@FOXFOOTBALL) January 7, 2019
Name a better pass, we’ll wait... pic.twitter.com/sG50Xl0Vd6
Meanwhile, Suarez produced another gorgeous volley to double Barcelona’s lead. The striker still comes in for criticism at times, but 12 goals in 17 appearances is a great return.
Questions remain over Barcelona defence
Barcelona rode their luck against Getafe and were a little fortunate only to concede one goal to José Bordalás’s side.
Of course it’s worth remembering that Barcelona were without Sergio Busquets, while Samuel Umtiti remains sidelined with no clear idea of when he will return.
Valverde also opted to bring the fit-again Sergi Roberto straight back into the starting XI ahead of Nelson Semedo, a tough call on the Portuguese defender who had done well before the Christmas break.
Roberto certainly didn’t look an improvement on Semedo, and it will be interesting to see who gets the call for Barcelona’s next La Liga match against Eibar.
Mata’s goal ended a run of four matches with a clean sheet in La Liga for Barcelona, while their defence may be good enough to clinch La Liga it will have to be better to claim glory in Europe.