Since losing 0-1 to Celta on November 1 Barça have strung together a run of eight consecutive victories (four in La Liga, three in Champions and one in La Copa) to restore confidence at Camp Nou. The team will attempt to make it nine on the trot with a game at Getafe tomorrow in the fifteenth round of the 2014/15 Liga (Saturday 4 pm). With Real Madrid playing in the Club World Club next week Barça have the chance to go top of the table for Christmas and the New Year if victories can be gained tomorrow and in next week’s home game with Cordoba.
Luis Enrique has named 18 players for the trip and the group will travel this evening to Madrid for an overnight stay due to the early kick-off time. The big news is that Neymar Jr will miss the trip due to discomfort in his ankle following the 3-1 win over Paris Saint Germain on Wednesday. Alves returns after his Champions League suspension while there is no place on the list for Masip, Douglas, Montoya or Sergi Roberto.
Luis Enrique seems likely to switch back to 4-3-3, after his surprise of playing three at the back on Wednesday. Bravo will return in goal while Alves and Alba should be restored as full-backs, leaving Bartra, Piqué, Mathieu and Mascherano battling for the centre-back spots. Xavi and Rakitic will most likely compete for a midfield spot alongside Busquets and Iniesta, while Pedro looks in line to start with Suarez and Messi up front.
Getafe are having a mediocre season and despite sitting in 12th place in the table they look more likely to fight relegation than to battle for a place in Europe. At the Coliseum they have only managed two victories in six games (Almeria and Malaga), while they could only draw 0-0 with Elche and lose to Valencia, Atlético and Athletic. Coach Cosmo Contra has a problem in defence tomorrow as both his regular left-backs are injured; his options include playing the slow but experienced centre-back Alexis or going for the 20-year-old Carlos Vigaray who normally plays with Getafe B.
The Coliseum always gives Barça a hostile reception and despite Getafe’s low-budget team Luis Enrique’s men will need to be tuned in tomorrow to earn three points. Barça came unstuck in Pep Guardiola’s final season, losing the corresponding fixture 1-0. In 2012/13 under Tito Vilanova Barça earned a convincing 1-4 victory, while last season despite going 2-0 down in the first fifteen minutes Barça ran out 2-5 winners thanks to a hat-trick from Pedro and two goals from Cesc Fabregas.
Barça’s 18-man squad list: Bravo, Ter Stegen, Alves, Bartra, Pique, Mascherano, Mathieu, Adriano, Alba, Busquets, Rakitic, Xavi, Iniesta, Rafinha, Pedro, Munir, Messi and Suarez
Getafe: Guaita; Arroyo, Naldo, Velazquez, Alexis; Lacen, Juan Rodriguez; Sarabia, Michel, Yoda; Lafita.
Barça: Bravo; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Suarez, Messi, Pedro.
Prediction: Getafe 0 Barça 3
Date: Saturday 13 December 2014. Kick-off 4 pm local time.