Saturday, 18 April 2009

Preview : Getafe

Venue : Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Getafe

The irksome Getafe are up next on the road for a meandering Barca. In the context of the tough fixtures up ahead, the bench strength of the squad assumes vital importance as they would be relied upon to deal with ties such as these. Pep Guardiola has been short-changed by the inadequate performance of his reserves and as the season draws into its final and most arduous stage the rotation policy that was enthusiastically pursued earlier in the season seems to be churning ever slower.

Getafe with Madrid socio card waving President Angel Torres are eager to play a critical part in the title battle. A poor run of results since the winter break has seen Getafe slide close to the relegation zone and a win against Barca will buy them considerable breathing space too. The club which partly traces its origin to a bunch of Madrid supporters who couldn’t break into the capital, host matches in its 17 000 capacity Coliseum Alfonso Perez. The stadium is named after the player Alfonso Perez who played for Madrid, was the leading light at Betis, spent 2 seasons at Barca and popularised the use of white football boots.

The staid and practical Victor Munoz as coach of Getafe has never been the recipient of any popularity awards and his approach to the game is very much inclined to functionality rather than flair or entertainment. Nevertheless, he has knit together a compact and disciplined side which are likely to be well organised in defence and direct in their attacks. Besides this, Getafe’s consistency in ending the last 4 seasons since their promotion (in 2004) in mid-table is indicative of their resilience and growing confidence.

Getafe have won just 3 of their last 15 league ties, drawing 4 and losing 8. They keep talking about turning the 17 000 seater stadium into a fortress but their home record is only marginally better this season, than their away, 56% of their points being garnered at home and 44% away. The goal scoring and conceding percentages are similar with 55%of their goals scored at home and 45% conceded. Yet, they have proved troublesome for Barca over the last few years with the last win at the Coliseum for Barca coming in March 2006. These are the results over the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.

Copa Del Rey

Apr 07 : Barca 5 – 2 Getafe
May 07 : Getafe 4 – 0 Barca

La Liga

Apr 08 : Barca 0 – 0 Getafe
Nov 07 : Getafe 2 – 0 Barca
May 07 : Barca 1 – 0 Getafe
Jan 07 : Getafe 1 – 1 Barca

Thats 2 wins, 2 losses and 2 draws.
The first leg at the Camp Nou this season ended in 1 – 1 draw, breaking a 9 match winning streak for Barca. Currently, Barca are on a 5 match winning streak.

Pep Guardiola cannot ignore the fixtures(8 matches against the top 4 Liga teams besides the Copa Del Rey final and the CL semis) coming up in the next 2 weeks as he decides his game plan for this encounter. Against Sevilla and Valencia (the next 2 games), Guardiola will have to put the big guns out since their greater attacking potential will warrant more edge in attack from Barca. Getafe do not have such potent attacking options to trouble the Barca defence. So Barca can go into this game with fewer regular starters and possibly come out with the same result.

But expecting a tough encounter, Pep will probably opt for more physical presence in midfield in order to break down any Getafe attack easily. So Busquets might get the start next to Toure in midfield rather than as the lone defensive midfielder. This will afford the forwards and Xavi the luxury of not having to chase down the Getafe midfield in trying to regain possession. Xavi was rested during the Recré game therefore seems the likely choice to start in the playmaker role but for this sort of game Iniesta might be a better option with his ability to beat defenders one-on-one and work his way into the box, giving Barca the possibility of winning penalties which could decide the game.

Thus, predicting a scrappy encounter with less of the neat build-up play we have seen from Barca for most of the season I would put Etoó in the starting eleven for his sharpness in finishing off loose ends, such as in a goal-mouth scramble. However Henry having sat out the Bayern game is the more rested and might be partnered with Bojan up front. Alexander Hleb has been left out of the 19 member squad named and that is a strange one perhaps indicating that either Messi or Iniesta has to start in one of the wide positions, perhaps with Gudjohnsen manning the central midfield.

Dani Alves could do with some time on the bench as well since a more solid defence capable of functioning independently will be preferable for this game. That means Puyol could slot in at right-back with Marquez and Pique pairing up in the centre while Abidal continues his reintegration into the system at left-back. 3 goalkeepers were named in the squad since Valdes suffered a minor knee injury so Pep could save his rickety legs and reward Pinto with another start.

The Azulones usually start with 2 up front in Soldado and Uche. Soldado has scored 10 goals this season and feeds on the service from Granero, Casquero and particularly ex-Valencia man Jaime Gavilan in midfield. Casquero is suffering from an injury however and may be replaced by Manu with Granero slotting in at the centre or by Celestini. Goalkeeper Jacobo can be expected to make a return after being suspended for the Sevilla game.

Predicted Lineups

Getafe 4-1-3-2 : Jacobo, Cortes, Mario, Belenguer, Licht, Polanski, Granero, Celestini, Gavilan, Soldado, Uche

Barcelona 4-3-3 : Pinto, Puyol, Marquez, Pique, Abidal, Toure, Busquets, Xavi, Bojan, Henry, Iniesta

A scrappy encounter may be in the offing. Barca have tougher games coming up and will be looking to finish this one off with the least expenditure of energy.

Prediction : Getafe 0 – 1 Barcelona


KAYR said...

pep post this please:

barca4life said...

You got this one spot on kamikaze

ej said...

we need to :

sell henry (this is ast chance to get money for him)

sell etoo ( if we win much trphis this seasn his egoo wi be too bg and i guess he will make trouble)

get ribery (3. best player in the world after messi and Iniesta , he can give us a very strong left attack side)

get villa (he need some titles)

like this we wnt sped much since the money we wil get from selling : etoo , henry , Gudi , Hleb wil be enough to cover 90% of what we need to pay !!!!

kamikaze kontiki said...

lol @ barca4life. Yeah, real close wasn't I?

oh, you are talking about the goal prediction. And you are serious.

Yeah, when I get that part right everything else is wrong. Next time I am gonna predict some absurd, impossible scoreline so then maybe the rest of the preview will be closer to the mark.

barca4life said...

LOL. yeah i was being serious about the score.

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