Barcelona achieve objectives
Barcelona’s draw with Getafe was instantly forgettable but did ensure the team secured Xavi’s remaining objective for 2021-22, namely finishing in second place in La Liga.
Champions League qualification had already been assured but the runners-up place secures a spot in the Spanish Super Cup which is worth a reported €8m to the Catalan giants.
It might not seem much but the cash is definitely needed, and it’s not to be sniffed at given Barca were down in ninth and flailing when Xavi arrived back in November 2021.
Riqui Puig summed it up pretty well after the match on what was a rare start for the midfielder.
The game itself offered little excitement as Xavi’s patched up side, without nine first team regulars don’t forget, took a point that also suited the hosts.
Sunday’s draw ensured Getafe can’t go down which brought big celebrations from the home side at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez after the final whistle.
Clean sheet for Barca’s patched-up defense
Barcelona’s teamsheet at Getafe made for interesting reading with Xavi forced to field a makeshift backline that included Dani Alves, Oscar Mingueza, Clement Lenglet, and Alejandro Balde.
Perhaps surprisingly, the defense managed to keep a clean sheet and there were few scares at the back too, aside from a movement of rare excitement when goalkeeper Marc-Andre made a mess of a cross.
Balde took over from Alba and enjoyed a decent outing which earned praise from his manager after the match. “He has been very good, he has had personality joining the attack and he has defended very well without the ball,” said Xavi of the 18-year-old.
Mingueza also deserves credit for a good display at center-back. The 23-year-old hasn’t had a good campaign but looked far happier back in his natural position in the heart of the defense that he had done on his rare outings at right-back this season.
Memphis injured & Dembele stays on the bench
Barcelona saw another player pick up an injury on Sunday with Memphis Depay departing on 71 minutes with a hip injury, although Xavi did say after the match he did not think it was a serious problem.
The coach opted to bring on Luuk de Jong rather than Ousmane Dembele who, perhaps surprisingly, stayed on the bench for the whole 90 minutes at the Coliseum.
Xavi was asked why Dembele didn’t feature against Getafe but his response didn’t give too much away. He said only, “I made the lineup today based on what I saw in training. Adama didn’t play either.”
It was a surprise not to see Dembele, particularly with Barca toiling in attack. Memphis, Ferran and Aubameyang all found it tough going with the visitors managing just one shot on target in the 90 minutes.
Debut for Mika Marmol
Sunday’s match did see a first-team debut for highly-rated defender Mika Marmol who was introduced for the last few minutes of the match.
It was a nice moment for the 20-year-old who has been impressing for Barcelona B and will surely be hoping for more chances next season.
Whether or not that happens may well depend on Barca’s transfer activities. Andreas Christensen will arrive, other may follow, and there’s likely to be a few departures.
Marmol becomes the fifth player from La Masia to debut under Xavi this season following on from Ilias Akhomach, Ferran Jutgla, Alvaro Sanz, and Estanis Pedrola.
There could be more minutes for some of the club’s youngsters next week in the team’s final game of the season against Villarreal at the Camp Nou, particularly with second place already in the bag and several players still missing due to injury.
Barca unbeaten away under Xavi
There have been plenty of improvements at Barcelona under Xavi but one stat that really stands out is the team’s away form in La Liga.
Sunday’s game at Getafe was the team’s final away fixture of the season and the draw means the Catalan giants finish the season unbeaten on the road under Xavi.
The Catalan giants boast the second best away record in Spain’s top flight in 2021-22, having won nine, drawn eight and lost two on their travels.
Barce have secured 35 points from 19 matches on the road and have not lost since the defeat at Rayo Vallecano all the way back in October. A game which saw Ronald Koeman sacked.
Barcelona have enjoyed wins at difficult ground such as the Bernabeu, Anoeta, and the Benito Villamarin, something that bodes well ahead of next season.