Tomorrow night we host Getafe in round 29 of the 2010/11 La Liga season. This has been an emotional and shocking week for the team with the news of Eric Abidal. As of right now, we know the surgery went well and without complications, however, there has been no report further. We all obviously wish Eric the best. There was also the news of facing Shakhtar in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
But for now, and most importantly for those 90 minutes tomorrow night, we turn all our focus and energy towards securing 3 points against Míchel’s Getafe. With the tough away fixtures against Villarreal and Madrid still looming, nothing but 3 points at home against 11th place Getafe will be acceptable. 18 players have been called up by Míchel’s and travelled to Barcelona, including three youth/B team players in keeper Gonzalo, center back Álex Pérez, and forward Adrián Sardinero. Getafe are sitting rather safely midtable with 34 pts (8 from relegation) after 9 wins, 7 draws, and 12 defeats, which is pretty much the norm for this club. There biggest issue is defensively, with 43 goals conceded in 29 (1.48 per game), which is the 4th worst in the league. Just to get some readers familiar with them, I’ll just go through a few players quickly. Cata Díaz is a tough Argentine defender, who replaces a lack of talent with roughness and aggression. In the midfield they have Borja, who is a Madrid product and was part of the first team during the times of Raúl Bravo and Pavon, which was not their finest hour. The team’s star is young Dani Parejo, who was sold to Getafe from Real Madrid as part of the Esteban Granero summer deal. Now Parejo was described by the legendary Di Stefano as the best young player he has ever seen, but honestly, Parejo has done Alfredo no favors in terms of proving that statement true. Upfront they have a Uruguayan called Albín, who actually possesses some natural talent and on his night can cause problems.
We are still without Puyol and obviously now Abidal, but tomorrow we will also be without Pedro and Maxwell. As a result, Guardiola has called up two Cantera players to train with the first team this week. One is Montoya; the second is Fontas, who in fact has been promoted to the first team for the remainder of the season due to the Abidal situation. Seeing as this is the last game before an international break (snoooooooze), I see no reason not to play our best 11. The defense is obviously the area of most doubt, but I would guess Alves and Adriano will occupy the flanks and Milito will partner Pique in the middle. Now personally, I find that defense pairing quite worrying. Reason being, they are both very slow. Pique works well with Abidal and Puyol because if they play a long ball over the defense or somehow break through, Abi or Puyi come dashing back to put in a big last-ditch tackle. With Gabi and Gerard, that option no longer exists. Furthermore, with Alves and Adriano gallivanting forward as we need them to do, this could leave us even more at risk. Valdes will have to be fully focused and I would not be surprised to see him dashing out acting as sweeper/keeper rather regularly. The rest will be the standard Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Villa, and Messi. Which leaves Pedro’s spot open. Now Keita can come in and Iniesta pushes forward, or Pep can bring Bojan or Afellay in. Personally, I’d like to see Afellay start, especially at home against lesser opponents. Bojan just has not ceased his opportunities and I don’t see any reason for Afellay not to given a chance to show his quality.
Enjoy the game. Força Barça.