Coliseum Alfonso Pérez
September 15, 2012; 19:00 GMT
Make no mistake; they have defeated the champions – the mighty Real Madrid, led by the ‘Only One’. Getafe has a reputation of being giant-killers and this season, they have justified the moniker by a stunning win against Real, followed by a drab draw against recently promoted Deportivo. Barcelona on the other hand, have started off well with a comprehensive victory against Real Sociedad, followed by two extremely critical wins against Osasuna and Valencia respectively. It’s evident that the team is taking shape under new boss Vilanova and will take some time to adapt to the pattern that the new manager prescribes.
Team News & Tactical Brief
Sporadic at best. However, the irony is that FC Barcelona often end up on the receiving end of the maverick club’s form. With an entire squad available at manager Luis Garcia’s disposal, the club from Madrid has enough firepower to disrupt the Catalan’s winning tempo. Known to be one of stronger sides in air, Getafe can give Barcelona a run for their money with their aerial game. The Getafe midfield had an exceptional game against the defending champions, so much so that they eclipsed one, as rich as Real Madrid. Abdel Barrada, Angel Lafita and Michel stood out with their dedicated play and commitment to the team’s cause.
In defense, Juan Valera and Alexis had an outstanding outing too with the former marshalling most of the right flank and initiating most of the attacks. In the process, the defense was left a tad vulnerable. Getafe’s penchant for long balls is evident as they executed that quite well this season. Nonetheless, they have the tendency to lose the ball cheaply – a folly which might just cost them dearly against FC Barcelona. Getafe should flood their half with as many players as possible and Xavi Torres and Michel will have the stupendous responsibility to shield the defense and also break the Barcelona gameplay. Overall, the Catalans can expect a very resolute opposition with emphasis on attacking in breaks.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Moya; Valera, Abraham, Alexis, Miguel Torres; Michel, Xavi Torres; Leon, Barrada, Lafita; Alcacer
Iniesta, the best player in Europe in 2011-12, will miss this cruch tie because of a pulled adductor in his right leg during the Spain-Georgia match. In a match as important as this, when Barcelona will be needing their Mr. Happy Feet to exploit Getafe’s frailty on the right, Iniesta’s absence will surely count. To add insult to injury, Jordi Alba too is unavailable due to flu. All of a sudden, the Barca left flank is devoid of all the magic that the Spanish National team possesses! Nevertheless, the name Lionel Messi will surely feature in the team-sheet. After having a mixed outings against Paraguay and Peru, the Barca talisman should be back to his usual form.
David Villa, who is as good as a fresh signing, might just mark his full return to top-level football. Alexis’ lacklustre form and inability to dictate the play at the final third might just force Vilanova to hand Villa his first start of the season. Of late, the Spanish top-scorer has expressed his exasperation at a long injury break and is raring to go – as if Leo Messi wasn’t enough. The former Gunners’ captain Cesc Fabregas has been the focal point for a plethora of unsavoury reasons. However, plaudits to him, unlike some of his colleagues, Cesc seem to be perfectly happy. After all, home is where the heart is! Iniesta’s absence will allow Fabregas to start the game and with it perhaps hand him a chance to shrug off any criticism whatsoever and proliferate his mirth.
Adriano has shrugged off his solecism and has come good in the crucial fixture against Valencia with a goal of the highest acclaim. He is expected to replace Jordi Alba at the left of defense. Puyol, who succumbed to a facial injury, against Osasuna, might get his first start after that. Along with Pique, he is expected to control the centre of defense with Dani Alves manning the right side. Apart from these, Xavi, Busquets, Valdes, Villa and Pedro are supposed to handle their respective roles with Alexis, Alex Song, et al, waiting in the wings.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Puyol, Adriano; Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas; Villa, Messi, Pedro
- Last time Getafe won against FC Barcelona was in November, 2011. Valera had an exceptional match and scored the only goal of the match.
- Fitness issues are already playing truant. Barcelona now has 5 players out with injury and 1 with sickness.
- Barcelona have scored 8 times and conceded just 2, despite having a somewhat susceptible defense.
- Getafe has won most number of aerial duels in Spanish top-flight football
Note: Key Facts courtesy WhoScored
Player To Watch Out For
Cesc Fabregas (FC Barcelona)
A lot has been said about the former Arsenal captain. The fact remains that Cesc is one of the finest midfielders to have graced Europe. His exceptional ability to link up with a central striker has produced a plethora of goals for Arsenal. However, that central figure isn’t exactly available at Barcelona and Vilanova’s attempt to have him play a more holding role might just give another dimension to Fabregas’ game. With Iniesta out and the upcoming Champions League match against Spartak Moscow, might just give him a new lease of life at the Camp Nou.
Getafe 1-2 FC Barcelona
Irrespective of what the eventual scoreline says, both these teams are going to fight tooth and nail. However, the sheer abundance of individual quality might just see Barcelona extend their lead at the top of the table. Getafe, however, has the potential to turn around any potential prediction. Stay tuned for an exciting encounter.