Revenge in Midweek: Barcelona-Getafe

Liga Preview: Barcelona-Getafe, Tuesday 3pmET

Getafe. That name again. They’re always around, even though we only played them twice this season. The reason? 1-0 and being 6 points back. Never to recover, never to challenge for the title again. Only that was in November and November seems a long time ago. You might remember that match as one of the matches Messi didn’t score in (how absurd is that statement!?) or you might remember it as the time when we peppered their goal to no effect. They had one shot on target, Barça had 6. Possession was skewed to the degree of 73-27 in their house. There were posts, saves, and a goal called back for an offside that probably wasn’t (though it wasn’t super wrong either).

Yet of course the world reacted the way Soccernet did: “Getafe humble Barca”. Oh? Such a humbling, such a dramatic destruction, such comeuppance was achieved the likes have never been seen. You know what? That’s bull. Euler defended the team’s honor in the wake of the negativity and the over-the-top reaction then; now it comes to me to dredge it all back up simply because, well, 4 points and the possibility of making it 1 going into Wednesday’s humbling of Atleti in their own stadium (seriously, if you have hope that Atleti will pull of a stunner, well, they won’t). So much for that trashing RM was going to give us leading up to the clásico they were hoping would include a pasillo in the Camp Nou.

Guardiola knows better than to let his players relax and his players know better than to think they can relax. But it’s all in the pursuit of getting better, regardless of injuries, regardless of tumors, regardless of thyroid problems, regardless of man-eating jungle assassins everywhere you turn. Nothing will stop this team from competing. In November it was the end of an era. Then the Club World Cup put that to rest for a week. The Espanyol draw brought it back onto the horizon and the Villarreal draw made it a crisis of ungodly proportions. The loss to Osasuna, well, that was not just the end of the season, but also the end of the world. Skynet had launched and we were all doomed.

Since that loss to Osasuna in early Hlebruary, only one team the league has gotten with in a single goal at full time: Atleti in the Calderon (and no, that’s not an argument for why they’ll beat RM, but rather why RM will stomp them 5-0). Sure, the goals allowed aren’t as pretty as they were early on when Valdes went something like infinitybillion minutes without conceding, but at 27GF to 7GA is not exactly a terrible mark.

I’m not really a Pepsimist by nature because I don’t see much other than the statistics when it comes to winning matches. This would be our 10th win in a row, but that doesn’t make it less likely than a loss or a draw. Like how if you flip a coin and it lands on heads 9 times in a row, the likelihood of it landing on heads the 10th time is 50%. Unless, like Barça, it’s a rigged coin. And that’s the thing, Getafe is kinda really crap away from home: 4W-4D-8L (16GF, 27GA). Just happens that Barça are 14W-1D-0L (60GF, 8GA) at home. 60 to 8! The next best team in terms of goals allowed at home is, interestingly, Getafe with 12. Madrid have allowed 17 while scoring exactly the same number as Barça. The worst, by the way, is Zaragoza with just 23 allowed.

Despite not being a Pepsimist, I’m still a cule (I believe a pepsimist is a type of cule rather than the other way around, though I think you could argue it both ways) and I think the league is not particularly close to being won. Think about it: basically, we have to win every single match from here on out to ensure that we have a chance of being in the running. And they could still beat us by simply winning all the matches that aren’t against us. Check out the scenarios here. If Barça wins out, that would be 16 matches in a row with a W at the end, something that strikes me as very unlikely.

Still, we have Messi. Official Prediction: 3-0. Getafe gets smacked around because, well, this team is butter (it’s on a roll).

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.



    People need to start doing the math. We do our own calculations. I’m not interested in the calculations done 600 km away, said the manager. He added: “this league title is practically impossible. I still believe that it’s a practically impossible task”

    Why bother to fight against Getafe, this league title is practically impossible.. 😛 #pepsimism

  2. nia
    April 9, 2012

    In Pep’s presser today, he was asked about the kick from Pepe to Arbeloa. Pep didn’t answer but, he also tried very hard not to laugh.

  3. mega_tajh
    April 9, 2012

    OT: Barastuff just bought it to my attention that Cesc has 15 goals and 20 assist in 41 appearances so far this season. Quite remarkable states for a new player in our system, halfway through a season muchless.

    He is currently 4 goals in equaling his best scoring tally (19) and 3 assists off his best productive year (23) when with Arsenal.

    Not to bad I must say. Yes he have been looking a lil of key recently but he is valued money.

    • April 10, 2012

      He got off to a very bright start, but has since been decidedly mediocre. His return to form will be important for the club in this vital stretch run. In many ways, I am pleased that Afellay is back because he gives us another midfield option, should Fabregas continue with his bad recent form.

  4. I wud keep my hope up about the Madrid derby if we can win tonight. Which we should do easily. Getafe may have beaten us, but this is our home. And definitely that 1-0 loss shud keep our boys motivated, otherwise the 4 point lead. There shud be no lack of motivation. And also they all will welcome the chance to play once again in a proper football pitch.

    If we can cut the lead to 1 point, the pressure on Madrid will be enormnous. Atletico will not get a better chance to stop losing to their big city rivals for once.

    But then again it is Atletico, their defense ususally goes sleeping when they see Real Madrid. But if we win tonight, I will keep my hopes up. Remember nobody gave Malaga a chance, then it was near impossible for Villareal to do the same in three days time. But both happened. Maybe it’d deja-vu time again for Madrid. The most important thing would be for us to cut the lead back to 1 point before the Madrid derby.

  5. fiazhamsath
    April 10, 2012

    OT :

    Please Read this. A Must Read for not only Cules, but to All Haters of Barca around the World!

  6. NeverEver
    April 10, 2012

    Every pepsimist is a cule but not every cule is a pepsimist…

  7. Chiu
    April 10, 2012

    Couple things:

    – My lineup for Getafe game:
    Montoya – Puyi – Masch – Adriano
    Busi – Iniesta – Thiago
    Messi – Alexis – Pedro

    I feel Pep wouldn’t risk Xavi to play tonight, likewise for Alves and Pique. Our already slim squad wouldn’t be able to pay for another long term injury bet. I’d like to see Montoya play a full match. And a home game against Getafe would be an apposite one to tally up his experience. Pedro should be given more opportunity to pile up his confidence after scoring that “drought ending” goal against Zaragoza.

    – Last time I checked, we have 4 players under four yellow cards accumulation i.e. Valdes, Keita, Alexis and Thiago. With el classico beckoning in the horizon, I presume Thiago and Alexis would “wittingly” concede the fifth yellow tonight. Valdes is safe as long as he stay cool. Keita probably wouldn’t play at all. I notice some tendency from Pep regarding Keita. He is a preferable starter in a more physical game where we expect not a so comfy possession, particularly on away game. From that casual observation, I think Pep would save Keita for away match in Levante.

    – Pep made another attention-grabbing statement in yesterday press conference. He remains intact with his previous judgment about our hope in liga. He clearly stated it’s impossible for Barca to overcome the 4 points deficit from EE. There’s no team that able to do it against the great EE. I consider this a mix of mental games and utmost respect to EE. He shields the team from any futile excitement for sure. He wants the team to concentrate on our own business and win the games one by one. While at the same time, he is sending all the praise to the rival as a psychological trap (read: complacency). I personally can sense what EE think right now; as we have experienced the typical situation where our lead was melting down approaching the end. They keep lowering their expectation on the point advantage they deem secure; to sooth their panic. Once they realized the thing, your rival is already breathing on your neck. Borrowing the expression from Gary Neville, mental toughness would be the crucial key now. Team that more prepared mentally will win this liga, and I believe that will be our team – FC BARCELONA!

    – Tonight game provides a massive momentum for Barca to heap up more pressure on EE in the Madrid derby. Expectation from EE to win the liga was sky-high when they lead by 10 points. Nobody would bet we can come as close as a provisional 1 point behind by tomorrow, even the die-hard Cules. From an almost sure liga title, fall to a possibly the most dramatic title giving off would be unbearable for EE. Our players know how vital the 3 points tonight and will respond accordingly. I respect EE quality and should admit they are still favorite way ahead. However, by winning tonight; we have chance to give EE some taster how it feels to surrender the liga. Keep hope Cules!

    Visca BARCA!

    • Srini
      April 10, 2012

      Good points, Chiu.

      – I would prefer if Puyol was rested too, but Pique showing signs of needing more rest and recovery, that option seems to be ruled oout.

      – Keita for all his toughness and utility has not really cut the DM role consistently well. He won’t likely start this game, but I expect him to come as a substitute pretty early if Barca have a comfortable lead.

      – Read a report somewhere that Alexis was going through some muscular discomfort. Pep would likely err on the side of caution and play Cuenca most likely instead of Alexis this game. And that means Alexis would have to avoid a booking in the Levante game.

      – Agree with your take on Pep’s comments. There is also a refreshing honesty in his remarks. Four points – even if it has been an outcome of paring from 10 not along ago – is a tough gap to surmount in 7 games against a side which has in the early half of the season won 13 in a row. The Camp Nou encounter should turn out to be decisive and EE, barring the Manita have actually been far better in the Camp Nou than at home against Barca. The probability of a Barca win is certainly higher – dependent upon the overall fitness of the team cometh the day – but it is not a guarantee that Barca will turn out a winner.

      – Speaking of EE, I think they will have a relatively cakewalk victory over Atletico. The latter is reeling from suspensions of three key players and EE, despite fatigued, has a deep squad. Sergio Ramos should be back, enough to lighten the load on Xabi to initiate attacks and even though EE could not overcome Valencia the other day, their attacking trident of Higuain, Benzema and Ronaldo is actually a very daunting matchup for any team, including Barca.

      – I would be keenly watching if Ramos or Xabi get a yellow in the Atletico game. If they draw a warning of the card type, they will be suspended two games for drawing 10 yellow cards for the season. And that means they could miss the Clasico. A neutral should prefer them to be playing for a great Clasico, but considering the rancour with EE over the past two seasons, I am leaning towards schadenfreude.. quite shamelessly.

      – Not fair to look so ahead, but as things stand, there is a possibility of an one-off Clasico in the UEFA Champions League and a All-Spanish Europa final featuring Athletic and Valencia. If it turns out to be the case, it would bring about a fantastic May with Barca facing EE in Munich, Valencia facing Athletic and then Barca facing Athletic in the CDR. What an advertisement for Spanish Football. And the Euro 2012 and Olympics beckon Spain as favorites as well.

      – If Alexis is expectedly rested and for some reason, Muniesa is played over Adriano against Getafe (and Chiu’s squad holds otherwise), Barca would be fielding an all La-Masia/ ex-youth teamer/ Barca-B XI. Ain’t that stupendous?

      • Srini
        April 10, 2012

        Amendment to the last point – Mascherano plays no matter the All Barca DNA XI is not going to happen.

  8. K_legit in Oz
    April 10, 2012

    Tu es dans mes pensees, Abi!

  9. blitzen
    April 10, 2012

    So apparently Luis Enrique was tearing journalists a new one in his press conference today. A nice person on twitter sent me the audio (Italian with a sprinkling of Spanish), and the quotes are from her TL:

    what the hell do you (to the journo) want from 20 yo boys! Let them grow up in peace!
    and let the older one in peace as well. You should do like our fans who have and continue to support us
    if you want to blame someone blame me. Leave my players in peace
    my players have always been professionals. In the worst moments of the season they’ve ALWAYS answered in the right way
    and stop with the BULLSHITS about not having attributes every time we lose!!
    I’m not looking for excuses, you should have got that by now
    you know how many years Ferguson before winning his first SPL in manchester, how many years Crujff in Barcelona?
    so do you wanted to have everything perfect in less than 9 months?
    we may not deserve it, but I’m here asking the fans to support my players tomorrow
    it’s just that we are evidently not ready yet

    (via @Di_Elle)

    I heart Lucho! I really hope he coachs Barça someday.

    • tutomate
      April 10, 2012

      Yes someday in the distant future but not now. BTW Hi Blitzen.

  10. pr17
    April 10, 2012

    btw for fans of enganches, trequartistas, playmakers, liberos etc. there is an excellent youtube channel. Brilliant videos of some of xavi’s earlier games, rui costa, gerson, bochini (argentine legend), riquelme, hernanes, ganso, valderrama etc.
    True delightful find (atleast for me)
    Here’s the link

  11. April 10, 2012

    I’m concerned about today – particularly because the fixtures are getting tricky now.

    While Barca should win, Getafe are recurrently painful to deal with. They can make matches very difficult as Barca has seen this season.

    And part of this is that Barca will have a difficult game this weekend before the Chelsea/Clasico/Chelsea sequence.

    Levante is a very good squad – very well managed, disciplined and sound tactically.

    The Barca squad is so thin – especially at the back Pep is really in a bind.

    I’m worried about the minutes Puyol is accumulating now. I’d really like for him to get a rest today but that’s just not possible. Hopefully Pique will be back by this weekend. There is almost literally no experienced cover at CB on the squad right now.

    Today, I’d also like to see Xavi rested and Thiago play. With Busi and Iniesta in midfield Thiago can orchestrate play. That’s the one area of depth they have and that affords Xavi some time to recover for the grueling upcoming schedule. Xavi will be very much needed against Levante.

    • yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
      April 10, 2012

      This raises up the question: since we knew abidal was going to have surgery sometime during the season why didn’t we buy a CB ?
      and why did we sell Maxwell when we also knew how injury prone Adriano is??

      • Srini
        April 10, 2012

        I think Pep is very confident about the B team youngsters fitting into specific roles for the first team and is reluctant to experiment with new outside hires. It explains why the club sold out Caceres, didn’t get back Botia and didn’t replace Maxwell with a buy from elsewhere. They seem to pin hopes on Muniesa (Fontas’ injury didn’t help though unfortunately) to take over as backups to Abidal and Adriano.

        That also explains why Pep didn’t do a similar buy when Villa and Afellay got injured and instead relied upon the inexperienced but system-talented Cuenca and Tello.

        Personally, for me, this is too risky when you are in contention against a team like Madrid and are fighting hard to win every trophy. I think the club will work hard in the upcoming offseason to find a good replacement for Abidal.. Jordi Alba seems to be the person being scouted and hunted, according to reports.

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