Preview: FC Barcelona vs Getafe (game 36 liga 2013/14)

Barça 4-0 Getafe Pedro Copa 2014It’s been a tough week at Can Barça. The loss of Tito Vilanova has obviously left a mood of sadness at the club which hasn’t been helped by watching the Champions League semi-finals from the sidelines. Rumours abound about possible transfers and the arrival of Luis Enrique (while Tata Martino is still under contract), and the small matter of Leo Messi’s new contract still needs to be settled. With so much talk about next season it might be easy to forget that there are still three games to play in the 2013/14 Liga and Barça are still in with an outside shot of taking the title. To have any chance the team need to win the remaining three games, starting tomorrow with Getafe’s visit to Camp Nou (Saturday kick-off 4 pm). Vilanova will be remembered with Barça wearing a special shirt for the game with the message “Tito Per Sempre Etern” (meaning: “Tito Forever Eternal”).

Barça may have missed out on the Champions League this week but the two semi-finals, particularly Bayern Munich’s 0-4 defeat to Real Madrid, raised questions about footballing philosophies that could have repercussions at Camp Nou. In the Guardian this week Johnathan Wilson asks: is this the end for tiki-taka? and although he concludes that the system is not finished and that teams will still try to control games through possession, he questions whether the style will ever dominate as it did for Ajax in the early 1970s or for Guardiola’s Barça.

For me, the most important part of Wilson’s article is this paragraph:

“In tactics there are no absolute rights and there aren’t many absolute wrongs: there is certainly no magic formula. Tactical theorists aren’t like alchemists searching for the quintessence that will explain everything. There is evolution and development in tactical thinking, but everything is contingent on other factors…. Tiki-taka worked so well at Barcelona in part because of the technical ability of the players, in part because opponents were still adjusting to changes in the offside law and in part because of the intensity of their play. You can get away with a high line and passers rather than defenders in the back line only if there is ferocious pressure on the ball.” 

It was that ferocious pressure that was so vital to our success and we need to think about a plan to recover the team’s intensity before any transfer business begins.

Another conclusion that might be made this week is that Barça can’t be that bad if we are still in the title race with the two best teams in Europe. At the end of March we were still unbeaten (two wins and four draws) in six games this season against the two Madrid teams though we then went and lost the all-important games in the Copa del Rey final and Champions League quarter-final.

For tomorrow’s game Carles Puyol still hasn’t recovered from his knee injury so with Valdés, Piqué, Alba, Dos Santos and Neymar all out Martino has named the same 18 players that travelled to Villarreal last week with the newly-fit Isaac Cuenca missing out again. It will be no surprise if Martino picks the same XI of Pinto, Alves, Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Alexis, Messi and Pedro that won 2-3 at Villarreal though there could always be a place for Fabregas.

Getafe are in great need of getting a result at Camp Nou as they sit just two points above the relegation zone. Coach Cosmin Contra is without Lisandro Lopez, Diego Castro, Pedro Leon and Ciprian Marica for the game but he recuperates Alexis Ruano, Roberto Lago and Ángel Lafita who all missed last week’s 1-0 win over Malaga. Getafe have already suffered three defeats to Barça this season, 2-5 at the Coliseum in La Liga back in December, then 4-0 at Camp Nou and 0-2 at the Coliseum in the Copa del Rey.

Match squads:

Barça: Pinto, Olazábal, Montoya, Alves, Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano, Song, Busquets, Xavi, Sergi Roberto, Iniesta, Fabregas, Pedro, Alexis, Messi, Tello, Afellay.

Getafe: Jordi Codina, Julio César, Alexis Ruano, Roberto Lago, Rafa Lopez, Álvaro Arroyo, Sergio Escudero, Juan Valera, Mehdi Lacen, Ángel Lafita, Pablo Sarabia, Jaime Gavilán, Jorge Sammir, Juan Rodríguez, Míchel, Borja Fernández, Pedro Mosquera, Adrián Colunga.

Possible teams:

Barça: Pinto; Alves, Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Alexis, Messi, Pedro.

Getafe: Julio Cesar; Valera, Alexis, Rafa, Escudero; Juan Rodriguez, Lacen; Lafita, Sarabia, Gavilan; Colunga.

Prediction: Barça 3 Getafe 0

Date: Saturday 3 May 2014. Kick-off 4 pm local time.


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6 Responses to Preview: FC Barcelona vs Getafe (game 36 liga 2013/14)

  1. barcacentralomer says:

    Nic, two interesting issues that you have raised in this post. The first is the supposed preoccupation with the next season instead of finishing out the current season in the best possible manner. While it is still talk, I was surprised to read about Courtois apparently expressing an interest in joining Barca. I doubt Chelski will let us have him on the cheap and while he’s a phenomenal keeper, Ter Stegen could turn out to be as good at a significantly lower transfer fee. We also have some papers making noise about Cesc being put on the transfer list by Barca, and Hummels agreeing a move to the Camp Nou. I’ve not been impressed by Cesc but is he really as bad as some of us think he is? Coming to Hummels, he’d have been great a couple of seasons ago but he seems rather slow for our playing style and he’s been injury prone of late.

    Regarding the end of the tiki taka, was it Mark Twain who remarked something about the rumours of my demise being greatly exaggerated. Tiki taka IMO, like any other tactic including ‘parking the bus’ is an idea/plan that requires the right kind of players to put it into practice. If you can execute it better than the opposition doing their thing on a consistent basis, the idea/tactic is termed as a success. Barca had the right kind of players to successfully implement the tiki taka and those players also had the hunger to succeed during the initial years of Pep’s reign. However, with the passage of time, the big clubs figured out how to play Barca, some of the key players like Henry, Toure and Abidal left without being properly replaced and others like Pique and Cesc couldn’t rediscover their form and as a result our play lacked the required intensity to dominate as we did earlier. Pep’s success with the tiki taka also meant that neither Pep nor his successors were brave enough to either modify the tiki taka or put in place a Plan B when the former wasn’t working.

    My apologies for the long post………:)

    • Barca4Life says:

      Tiki taka works!! Just that some of the players can no longer cope. Want tiki taka back?? Simple!

      FAbregas is awesome…. Just that he is not able to play in that kind of intensity a tiki taka formula needs. Can he work on it? I doubt so… This guy has injury issues… The moment he starts working hard on his intensity… He’ll start getting injured more often than anything.

      We need an intensive midfielder. Koke and gundogan are options we should try for.

      In defence we will need Vertonghen!! Has the height and can play at left back … Abidal sort of mould… With the ability to bring the ball out of the defense with ease.

      Personally I’ll go for Vertonghen over an stritute full DAvid Luiz. That apart, we may also need a back up center back… Chasing down dede of Brazil is a wise wise gamble!!

      If it’s up to me

      Players out- FAbregas, Alexis, dani Alves.

      Players in- Koke, gundogan, Vertonghen, ter Stegen, dede! Then we are pretty much all set and ready to go!!

      And yes! Tata must be retained!! He will only improve once our defence is sorted out!! Trust me!!

      • Barca4Life says:

        With a line up of


        Montoya, Pique, Vertonghen, ALba

        Busquets, Koke, Iniesta

        Messi, Neymar

        This formula will allow a third forward to step up during attacking sequences in which gundogan and Koke will do with ease!! With Iniesta in support and Busquets at anchor.

        We will retain intensity!! And a better balance of height all over the pitch as well

        • Barca4Life says:

          At the moment, we don’t have the balance.

          Alex song can do much better at CM. But it’s too late now.. Due to lack of game time… He has lost a lot of momentum…

          Why pique and Bartra can’t do well together is still beyond me as well.

          I really hope we win the remaining games…

  2. Caleb says:

    Yeah, the pressing is the issue in my mind, too. Leading up to Bayern’s thrashing some people were saying that Bayern had lost their intensity in recovering the ball.

    If we can’t get back to the 6 second rule, we won’t see another 2009 for a long time. I honestly think one of the problems is giving some member of the team a “pass” when it comes to defending. Messi does not press most of the time. Neymar plays defense, but not with intensity. Our midfielders do a decent job—Xavi is getting older, though.

    I feel like Pedro and Sanchez should have been rewarded more this year for their intensity. The message from the coaching staff needs to be that working hard on both sides of the ball is essential to getting game time.

  3. layibiyi says:

    Nice article by J.Wilson

    My opinion on tiki-taka:
    Barca 2009-2011 has entered the record books, signed sealed and delivered just like Ajax 70s, Milan 90s etc. We are starting afresh in the football world in terms of tactical ideas. There is a reason those teams are special. No team should normally be that dominant at this level of the game. If you are that dominant, you qualify to join the special teams. So from now, we should see teams that will dominate yearly but would be countered the next year and so on. Till someone brave comes around again with the right set of circumstances.

    That said, we would still see elements from the tactics of those great sides, being used successfully, but not continuously dominant.

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