Sunday, February 10, 11:00 Hrs GMT
Barcelona have had some minor setbacks on the road in recent weeks, but their home form remains as ominous as ever, which doesn’t bode well for Getafe at all. The comfortable lead at the top of La Liga hasn’t been enough to make the Catalans rest on their laurels, far from it. They are looking to clinch the title as early and decisively as possible and will not slow down at all. Getafe, however, will definitely have different ideas as they try to continue their very comfortable season so far with at least a point at Camp Nou.
They will try to take advantage of the absence of Tito Vilanova, who is still recovering from his illness in the United States and leaving the team to his assistant manager Jordi Roura; while Roura has been doing a good job, Barcelona have definitely been slightly more vulnerable since Tito left, be it a coincidence or not.
Team News and Tactical Brief
It has been a good week for Barcelona; the draw at Valencia wasn’t the desired result, but more importantly for the blaugrana universe Lionel Messi has renewed his contract until 2018. There could hardly be better news for the club and its fans than the guarantee that the prodigal son and world’s best player will ply his trade at Camp Nou
at the very least until he’s 31 years old. The Argentine will surely be extra motivated to celebrate his renewal with a great performance and goals this weekend. Along with him up front, he should have fellow Ballon d’Or finalist Andrés Iniesta and the ever reliable Pedro Rodriguez.
At the back, Valdés will definitely start, with a back four of Alba, Alves and two of Mascherano, Piqué and Puyol ahead of him; in midfield, Busquets and Fabregas are safe bets, the only question being who will replace the injured Xavi, currently in a race to reach full fitness for the Champions League tie against AC Milan. Starlet Thiago Alcantara is the favourite to get the nod and start along Busquets and Fabregas.
The strategy will be the same as always: Barcelona will look to dominate the match through possession and relentless pressing off the ball, probing for gaps in the Getafe defence and looking to score as early as possible.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Victor Valdés(GK); Jordi Alba, Javier Mascherano, Gerard Piqué; Sergio Busquets, Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas; Andrés Iniesta, Pedro Rodriguez, Lionel Messi
The Madrid outfit has been having a very solid season so far under Luis Garcia, who has been proving for quite a while to be one of the best managers in the league. They even got a win over their city neighbours Real Madrid at home early in the season. In their last five matches in all competitions, Getafe have only lost one, at the Santiago Bernabeu, and are therefore a quite confident team right now. Getting points at Camp Nou is one of the toughest missions in football, but Getafe under little pressure right now, they are sure to give it their best shot to cause an upset.
Moya was sent off last week against Deportivo and is suspended for this match, with Codina sure to take his spot; the absence of their first-choice goalkeeper is definitely bad news for Getafe, but Codina is no slouch either. Valera, Alexis, Rafa and Escudero are likely to make the back four, with Borja and Xavi Torres shielding them. Castro, Barrada and Galivan will be behind the sole striker Colunga, but will also have a lot of defensive duties in this match, what with Barcelona’s traditional relentless attacking pressure especially in their home.
Luis Garcia has taken points off Barcelona quite a few times in his time in La Liga at both Levante and Getafe and he knows what needs to be done for Getafe to have a chance. They will defend deep and in numbers to try to frustrate the Catalans and invest on quick counter-attacks and especially set pieces. It was through a corner kick goal that they beat Barcelona at home last season after all. It will take a great performance to stop the Catalan juggernaut at Camp Nou though.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Codina(GK); Valera, Alexis, Rafa, Escudero; Borja, Xavi Torres; Castro, Barrada, Galivan; Colunga
Key Match Facts
- Getafe have scored 28 goals so far in La Liga, Lionel Messi scored 33.
- The reverse fixture ended 4-1 for Barcelona.
- Barcelona have only got a win from their last three matches in La Liga.
Player to Watch Out For
Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona)
Messi might have just renewed until 2018 but this man has been in the form of his life this season and keeps impressing every single week with his incredible technique, vision and touch. Expect Iniesta to deliver yet another otherworldly performance this weekend.
FC Barcelona 4 – 1 Getafe
A repeat of the result of the reverse fixture, with Barcelona asserting their authority in the match and their quality prevailing in straightforward fashion.