A Return to Your Previously Scheduled Formation: Geta-Barça

Liga Preview: Getafe-Barcelona, Saturday 4pm ET, GolTV

With the Champions League group stage done and dusted despite one remaining match–but don’t tell Fontas that’s why he’s starting–La Liga takes center stage. The next 3 league matches will decide a lot more than some might acknowledge given what’s happening in the 4th one from now. I’d love to do some really intense run-in to the preview, but it’s Thanksgiving weekend here in the US and I’m traveling (currently sitting in sunny Washington DC, looking out over the National Cathedral as I write this) so you’ll have to deal with it.

Getafe are currently in 15th place, but are just 1 point above the relegation zone as they’re tied on 10 points with Mallorca and Zaragoza. They’ve won 1 match since the end of September (a 3-2 home victory over Atletico Madrid) and they’ve only won 2 matches all year. Both were at home, however, as were 3 of their 4 draws. The best team they’ve played at home, Levante, ended up with a draw, but it was also the first match of the season and Levante hadn’t yet gone on their impressive run of wins.

The other interesting thing about their overall record is their goal difference: Despite 6 losses, they’re only at -6. They’ve only lost by more than 1 goal twice (@RM and @Valencia), which is impressive in one sense. Their only loss at home was to Rayo Vallecano back in mid September, so they’ve got a bit of a record to protect. Can they, though, against the firepower that Barça brings to the table?

FCB’s squad list: Valdés, Pinto, Alves, Piqué, Fàbregas, Puyol, Xavi, Villa, Sanchez, Messi, Thiago, Mascherano, Keita, Busquets, Pedro, Maxwell, Adriano, Abidal, Fontàs, Isaac Cuenca.

It’s unlikely that we’ll see a 3-4-3 like against Milan in midweek thanks to the return of Dani Alves, but it was a fun experiment, as long as you forget Ibra’s goal and the massive space on Milan’s left flank and…well, read the review for a full analysis. I think we’ll see a very similar lineup to what we saw against Zaragoza. Iniesta is still out injured, but Adriano is back in, so we may see Adriano play in place of Abidal to give the latter a rest, but that’s not a major tactical change.

Getafe is talking a big game, but they’re somewhat lacking in firepower and that could haunt them. They’ve scored 13 goals in 12 matches, 5 of them by Miku, the joint 8th top scorer in the league (tied with Cesc, for what it’s worth). That’s really not so bad a record since Sevilla has 12 and Espanyol just 9 and they’re fighting it out for European spots, but Getafe’s defense leaves a little bit to be desired. Only 2 teams (Osasuna and Zaragoza) have worse defensive records. So watch out for Miku, who has admittedly scored 4 of his goals on the road, and pile it on their defensive end. They’ve allowed 6 goals at home, but their away form suggests a fair bit of defensive weakness.

Okay, so, lineup: Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Adriano, Keita, Cesc, Xavi, Villa, Messi, Cuenca.

Official Prediction: 0-3, goals by Villa (2) and Messi. I’m a sucker for predicting Villa scoring, but I assume that it means he won’t play a minute of the game. Ah well.

Time for more food!

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


  1. I think we’ll put in a great and determined performance tonight. The team knows things are starting to get serious and the victory against Milan on Wednesday was a GREAT psychological boost that will have a big effect on the forthcoming matches espcially in the calsico and the Club World Cup. Huge win at one of the 3-4 most historic stadiums in Europe against a huge rival with 7 CL trophies. Our team matured and gained prestige with this win do not doubt 🙂
    Prediction 1-3 goals by Messi, Cesc or Villa

  2. My comment was Hectored! Grrr..

    surely EE is a better team than Milan, but not that far, imo

    The gap between the 2 world’s best (us & EE) and the 3rd is quite a distance imo. We all know that Seria A is not as strong as they were in the past few seasons.
    Last season, Milan lost to my below average Ajax! And later on to Spurs who were knocked out silly by EE.

    Many people didn’t take Milan seriously but why is it only when we have trouble beating them at Camp Nou only people take them seriously. I still find them an average side.

    to expect a manita against Milan is disrespecting the opponent

    Nobody mentioned about manitas. I at least never did.

    These are the points that I raised earlier;
    1) We couldn’t control the ball over a long period of time
    2) Because of them losing the ball quite often, it also leaves our 3 man defence in great danger.
    3) Pressure. For the past few weeks, they haven’t been pressuring much = more time on the ball for the opponents.

    CL title wise even bigger than we

    C’mon. Just because Milan has a bigger history doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be able to dominate the match vs. them. Their history is history, what matters is now. And how they have been for the past 3-5 seasons.

    I’m sorry if I came off as arrogant but I really have a doubt that they can cruise anymore especially on away games against above average teams.
    Hunger is one thing but the carelessness while in possession is really worrying. Of course I’m not talking about Mallorca or Osasunas but I’m talking about Valencia & Milan.

  3. Barcastuff

    Johan Cruyff: “For me, it’s already clear who should be the successor of Guardiola. I already told people close to me.” [com radio]

    Who do you guys think he was referring to?

    -I don’t think it’s Tito.
    -Van Basten? I find his personality too weak and he has no connection with Barca other than the fact that he came from Ajax.
    -Frank de Boer? Just finished 1 season with Ajax.
    -Oscar Garcia? Not much experience at a high level. At least Pep was coaching the B team.
    -Lucho? My best bet.

    Barcelona have decided to buy back Sporting centre back Alberto Botia (22) for 2.5M in May. His future depends on next year’s coach. [lvda]

    First of all, how can we buy him if either Barca or Sporting has no idea about next year’s coach? Or do they mean that we WANT to buy but Botia will decide depending on Preciado and his successor.

    1. I don’t know about the others but I for one would put my weight behind Joachim Löw as Guardiola’s successor..man’s a visionary!

  4. Wow. Thanks for the review even though you are on a holiday.

    Btw I forgot to mention how much I cracked up after reading this last week;

    Official Prediction: 1-2, Barça wins a very entertaining match. Goals by Messi (who else) and Pedro. Unless Fontas starts, in which case the goals are both by him. Boy, I crack me up sometimes.

    I hope I don’t sound racist but you and Kxevin are so funny??!! For sure there is at least one line that will crack me up whenever Isaiah or Kxevin writes a post. Whenever I see the author, I’ll scan the article first to find the jokes.

    I’ve never been to US but from what I see on tv, the African-Americans are hilarious! Too bad Dave Chappelle retired early. Can anyone from the US recommend me a brilliant new stand up comedian or comedian?

    1. I don’t get how that’s racist but amongst the new crop of comedians I am a huge fan of Lewis Black..he’s not ‘new on the block’ mind you..

    2. I am just worried that people might label me racist for thinking that they (Kxevin and Isaiah) are funny and saying that African-Americans are funny.
      Even though we don’t have African Americans in my country and we don’t have racism issues but I know it is such a sensitive thing in the Western world. And especially with the recent racism allegations in football.

      I will check out youtube clips of Lewis Black. There are loads of clips of him so I bet he is good. But I still miss Chappelle Show even though it’s been 6 years. Russell Peters is the best but he doesn’t do tv shows, just shows.

    3. Haha that is one awkward moment. If I’m not mistaken, it was in the same movie when where he shot Tony Sopranos nephew from the Sopranos over something similar.

      Joe Pesci and Robert de Niro are like Xaviniesta! All their movies are classics! Goodfellas, Casino and in another one that I can’t remember but they were not partners in that movie though. Too bad they only made 2-3 movies together.

    4. No reply option.

      I’ve never watched that movie unfortunately. Just the part in the bedroom when De Niro was in the mood for some loving with his gf. That’s about it.

      I was talking about A Bronx Tale as the 3rd movie. I guess it’s 4 movies then that they starred in together.

    5. What country do you live in, barca96, that doesn’t have racism issues?

      And don’t believe everything you see on TV. I know plenty of black people who are just as unfunny as everyone else. 😉

    6. I don’t think so. I remember the days on the offside were he posted a pic of himself I believe, unless I mistook that person for Isaiah he isn’t.

  5. I want to see more Thiago in that advanced position as he played against Milan (The third of offense three). He was simply amazing there – especially in first half.

    The problem is that I also want to give more time for Cuenca and Sanchez up front as they both need it at the moment. So what to do?

    Hm… maybe we use Thiago as a false nine between Alexis and Cuenca. This way we rest Messi. Rest Messi? Wait… BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  6. Given the depth at midfield I’d like the team to be able to rest Xavier today. Despite cesc coming in Xavier has still played large minutes. I doubt his playing time is averaging much less than last season despite cesc and thiago.

    I know iniesta is out but they should be able to handle them with thiago and cesc.

    As usual, against Milan Xavi ran more than any other player.

    That said pep seems to be very uncomfortable without Xavi there to dictate play. But if the team is going to derive value from the one area where they so have real depth they are going to need to be more flexible in how much they really on Xavi.

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