Getafe vs. Barcelona: Complete Preview, Team News and Projected Lineups
The international break is now over and Europe's biggest leagues return to action this weekend.
Barcelona restarts its title hunt by heading to Madrid to face a tough Getafe side who upset the defending champions just three weeks ago when Juan Valera had a huge night.
Cules are very familiar with Valera. It was the Spaniard who scored the winner last November when Los Azulones beat Pep Guardiola's men 1-0.
For Barça, the build to this match already looks eerily familiar to that loss last fall, and this should worry Tito Vilanova.
Barça's new manager enters this match without many of his stars, most notably Andres Iniesta and Alexis Sanchez. Both players suffered light injuries on international duty and have already been declared unfit.
Don Andres suffered an elongation of a muscle in his right leg and the team has confirmed he will be out for 10-15 days.
This will surely mean a start for Cesc Fabregas, but it is unknown where exactly. Odds are that he will start in midfield, but with Sanchez also down, Barça's No. 4 could play up front while Alex Song gets another start in midfield.
The Chilean winger is also expected to miss up to two weeks after sustaining a thigh injury.
Jordi Alba is unlikely to start after coming down with an illness, but may still feature in the match.
Carles Puyol has recovered from injury and Thiago Alcantara is now back training with the team. Both could see time this weekend, but it could be from the bench.
Puyol will be wearing a new mask to protect his face after fracturing his cheekbone in the Spanish Supercopa.
David Villa recently said (via Goal.com) that he is fully recovered from his broken leg, but agrees with the club and says he must take time with his recovery. He may start, but will feature regardless.
Meanwhile, El Geta will be at full strength with David Abraham now fully fit again.
The main question mark for the hosts is in midfield. Luis Garcia Plaza will have to choose two partners for Lafita, from Pedro Leon, Abdel Barrada and Diego Castro.
Getafe: Moya; Valera, Alexis, Abraham, Torres; Michel, Torres, Leon, Barrada, Lafita; Miku
Barcelona: Vales; Alves, Pique, Puyol, Adriano; Busquets, Xavi, Fabregas; Pedro, Messi, Tello
Players to Watch: The three-man attacking midfield line
Whichever trio Plaza elects to field can cause problems for Barcelona's questionable back line. It will be interesting to see how many chances the line can create on the counter-attack.
What's your prediction?
Keep an eye out for Vilanova to mirror his enemy's formation as we could see Barça use the 4-2-3-1 that we saw against Osasuna
If Barça struggle to make chances in the first half, Vilanova may mirror the 4-2-3-1 formation that we also saw against Osasuna .
This match is certainly set for another upset. Getafe beat Barcelona last fall and have already taken points from Real Madrid this season.
In addition, the Catalans will be without their best magician, their starting winger and probably their first-choice left-back.
Lionel Messi and company will still be considered favorites, but La Blaugrana have not played at their best since their first match and that poor play could catch up to them in Madrid.
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