A big deal has been made around the Barça players having to adapt training and dietary procedures to play at mid-day against Getafe. But what about us fans who have to deal with this new earlier time messing up our Sunday? Sheesh, you poor American and Canadian folk having to get up at 6am EST, or staying up until 3am PST to watch!
Some of us weren’t even born in 1965 which was the last time that Barça played a mid-day Liga game at Camp Nou. That was played on Christmas Day against Las Palmas and the home side won 3-2, with goals from Gerd Müller, Benítez and Eladio. 20 years later in 1985, Sevilla hosted the Blaugrana in another mid-day game – played at that time because it was the Easter weekend and in Seville that Saturday night is a big night for bullfighting. Barça won 0-2.
“Barcelona is not a business, it is a feeling. We are not owned by anybody, we are an association; we do not have ‘clients’. I will never put a game on at 12 noon for the Chinese audience. We do want to open up our market but not to forget our roots. While I am the president, Barcelona will never, ever be for sale.” ~ Sandro Rosell
Barça somehow managed to avoid playing a noon match last season, because Rosell wouldn’t capitulate. Sell the soul of the club? Never! However, the mid-day games are an attempt to tap into the lucrative Asian football fan-base and to grow La Liga’s popularity (better timing to watch football matches in the early evening for most Asian countries), and as FCB has recognised Asia as a huge target market for them, they must toe the line and play along. Can’t have your bread buttered on both sides, Sandro me old china – do you want the money for colour copies, or not?
Update on Getafe
Situated about 13kms from Madrid’s city center, Getafe is a city in its own right and part of the Autonomous Community of Madrid of which Madrid is the capital.
Founded in 1983, Getafe Football Club is a relatively new club on the scene. The first 20 years were spent playing in lower divisions before promotion to the Liga Primera was achieved in 2004/05. For the past 9 seasons, Getafe has managed to stay up although they came close to being relegated in the 2008/09 season after finishing 17th – the last position above relegation.
In early 2011, Club Chairman, Ángel Torres, controversially sold the club to the Royal Emirates Group, after first denying that a deal had been made. He and Team Captain, Manuel del Moral, were flown to Dubai (in the United Arab Emirates) to attend a press conference at which the sale was announced. The Royal Emirates Group is chaired by Sheikh Butti bin Suhail al-Maktoum who is a member of Dubai’s Royal Family – the Al-Maktoums.
Getafe has the
infamous reputation of being sponsored (2009 – 2012) by fast-food company Burger King. As of this year, a new kit sponsor was announced, and local company Confremar took over. Confremar is a well-known enterprise supplying frozen seafood, ready-made meals and vegetables to local supermarket chains, schools and restaurants, but their logo isn’t a patch on having Burger King on the shirt front.
How’s the Team Looking?
From flame-grilled to tepid, that’s how.
Getafe started with a roar, and even beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the second week of this season. Two weeks later, Barcelona visited and beat them 1-4. That took some wind out of their sails and, since then, the results have been erratic. While Barça’s season results stand at: 19W 2D 1L, Getafe’s are: 8W 5D 9L. On the road, the team is not faring well: 3W 2D 6L.
With 29 points, Getafe sits in 12th position on the Liga Primera Table, but they must be wary of lower teams such as Bilbao, Espanyol and Zaragoza who are starting to find form and may overtake Getafe which would put them under relegation threat once more.
In their last 5 matches, Getafe has lost only once to Real Madrid (4-0), drawn 3 times and won 1 game. They are looking better than they did before Christmas, and a match against the Blaugrana tends to bring out the best in teams.
Shoring up the Defences
In the January transfer window, Getafe was active and secured 2 players on loan from other clubs.
23yo Argentine NT player Federico “Fede” Fernández arrived from Napoli and will play as Centre-back and 23yo Spaniard Sergio Escudero Palomo is on-loan from Schalke after the CB voiced a desire to return to Spain and play. Both have been brought in to cover for the long-term injured defenders Juan Valera and Mané.
The Getafe Squad
Coach Luis García Plaza has named the following players to travel to Barcelona:
Goalkeepers: Codina and Alberto.
Defence: Alexis, M. Torres, Lopo García, Fede and Escudero.
Mid-field: Lacen, Sarabia, Gavilán, P. León, D. Castro, Barrada, Míchel and Borja
Forwards: Álvaro, Paco Alcácer and Colunga.
#1 Goal-keeper, Miguel Moyá, is suspended after being red-carded out of last week’s game against Deportivo, as is Defender Rafa López who received his 5th Yellow in the same game and has to sit out this game.
Long-term injured players (apart from the above mentioned Juan Valera and Mané) are former Zaragoza player Ángel “Queen” Lafita who is sidelined with a damaged knee, and Juan Rodríguez with a hamstring injury.
The Danger Men?
Pretty much all of them, really, as the goals scored this season are shared amongst the forwards, mid-fielders and backs. Diego Castro leads the scorers with 5 goals for the season, followed by Álvaro, Alexis and Barrada with 3 apiece.
Álvaro is one player to watch. The ex-Espanyol player is the man who scored the goal in the dying minutes of last season’s Espanyol vs. Barça debacle derby to level the score at 1-1.
Mid-fielder, Pedro León, is most likely still ruing his Real Madrid venture, after falling out of favour with Mourinho who then also blocked León from a move to Chelsea. León cut his losses and moved back to Getafe on-loan where, he has stated, he would prefer to stay. So there.
Statistics and results will show that Getafe has an 8 goal deficit this season (28 scored, 36 conceded) but that matters little on a per-match basis when all they need to do is score one more than the opposition to win the game.
The Home Side
As opponents play us with the same pressing, physical style that has been employed by everyone we have faced since the last quarter of last season, fresh legs will be crucial along with fresh minds. This means rotation, and lots of it. The effectiveness of that rotation starts with letting this team see that it can play the same way with different players. Hats off to Vilanova for that. ~ Kxevin in his Getafe vs. Barça Review, earlier this season.
Ain’t that the truth.
The away game to Getafe was played just after an International break, as will this Getafe game.
I think that it’s fair to say that since Tito’s absence on the bench, the rotation hasn’t been there, nor have the timely and gutsy substitutions that have won games over the past season.
The starting 11 has each played for around 2,000 minutes over this season. The “2nd string” players have 500 minutes or less. That’s a huge gap which needs to be addressed. There is a lot of bench-sitting going on for some players who need the games.
We certainly saw most of the players with very heavy legs during the Valencia match. That was put down to the match with Madrid 4 days before, but I’d say that the tiredness was even setting in during the Madrid game.
There is a lot of talk around here that there will be some rotation of players seen for this match. Thiago is expected to get a start, as is David Villa.
During today’s press conference, Jordi Roura had this to say about how much Tito Vilanova is being kept in the loop:
“We’ve been in permanent contact with him all the time thanks to new technologies. He’s more active than ever, he’s feeling really well. Tito has access to all the matches and the reports, and that allows us to talk about it all. There’s only a slight difference even though he’s not here”. He also revealed that the exchange of information is not just limited to talking during the matches: “We even have a system of cameras that allow him to see the training sessions”.
The Barça Squad
The team will be selected from the following players:
Valdés, Pinto, Alves, Montoya, Piqué, Bartra, Puyol, Mascherano, Alba, Adriano, Thiago, Fàbregas, Busquets, Song, Iniesta, Alexis, Pedro, Messi, Villa and Tello.
Piqué is back after missing the Osasuna match due to his sending off against Real Sociedad, but he’s sitting on 4 Yellows and another will see him miss the next game.
Xavi is missing with his hamstring injury, Dos Santos is warming his seat in the stands with the addition of a bandaged ankle and Abidal has yet to receive full clearance.
Expect a running game if Thiago is put in charge of the mid-field. It will certainly be less about the possession and more about getting forward which is a good thing when it all goes right. The defensive players will have to be on their toes, though.
If you’ll be at the match and sitting behind the north goal or on the lateral, take sunglasses and a hat. The sun is going to be in your eyes, although it’s supposed to be partly cloudy on Sunday, leading up to rain on Monday.
As this video will show, the South Goal (normally Barça’s favoured go-to goal if they win the toss) will be in complete shadow (from one of the scoreboards on top of the stadium) when the match begins.
The game kicks off at MID-DAY on Sunday 10th February
Click here to convert the match time to your timezone: FC Barcelona vs. Getafe CF