Barcelona vs. Getafe: Key Battles to Watch in La Liga
Barcelona welcome Getafe to Camp Nou on Sunday for a noon kickoff—La Blaugrana's first in 28 years.
Although last season's 1-0 defeat at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez remains fresh in the memory, Barca actually enjoy a very good record against Los Azulones.
In their last 17 league meetings, Getafe have won only twice. Meanwhile, there have been three draws and Barcelona have recorded 12 wins.
Last weekend's draw with Valencia has raised some questions over fatigue, rotation and substitutions at Barca, which will likely be added to by the midweek internationals.
Getafe, by contrast, recorded their first win in eight against Deportivo la Coruna last time out, setting up some interesting battles heading into this weekend's fixture.
Jordi Roura vs. Luis Garcia
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Jordi Roura will continue to head up the Barcelona bench this weekend for the visit of Luis Garcia's Getafe side.
If the game hangs in the balance going into the second half, the two managers will have important roles to play.
Against Valencia, Roura was suspect with the lateness of his substitutions. La Blaugrana appeared to be suffering fatigue from El Clasico.
Earlier this season, in the match at Getafe, both Lionel Messi and David Villa were needed from the bench to put the match out of the home side's reach.
Garcia's biggest problem is one which has hampered his Getafe side all season—getting the best out of his strikers.
None of Alvaro Vazquez, Adrian Colunga or Paco Alcacer have scored more than three in their varying appearances.
If one emerges from the bench on Sunday to put another dent in Barca's form book, it could be a master stroke from the Getafe tactician.
Sergio Busquets vs. Abdel Barrada
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Abdelaziz Barrada has been a busy man.
Back in July, he scored this goal against Honduras in the London Olympics. He then started the season in great form for Getafe, contributing three goals and two assists in his first six games.
Last month, he was in South Africa with Morocco for the AFCON. He returned to Getafe with a scintillating performance against Deportivo la Coruna last weekend.
On Sunday, the 23-year-old will likely start as the most attacking, central point in Luis Garcia's midfield. Sergio Busquets will be tasked with stopping him.
Busquets has of course dealt with players equal to—and better than—Barrada. However, the Moroccan will be keen to impress at Camp Nou and this promises to be an interesting matchup.
Thiago Alcantara vs. Himself
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With Xavi injured, this weekend should present another chance for Thiago Alcantara to showcase his credentials.
Long tipped as the heir to Barcelona's midfield throne, an injury scuppered his Olympic dream and preseason.
Now that he is back to full fitness, he has been looking to impress.
Restricted to four starts in La Liga—one at Getafe—the 21-year-old will enjoy the opportunity to thrive in Camp Nou for the second league game running after his start against Osasuna.
In that match, he completed 93 percent of his 126 passes (via WhoScored.com) and will be hoping to do the same in Sunday's midday kickoff.
Jordi Codina vs. Barcelona's Attack
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If you're thinking that "Jordi" sounds like a Catalan name, you're right. Jordi Codina is Barcelona born, Espanyol bred.
With that being said, he has been making his living in the Spanish capital for 10 years now, with Real Madrid Castilla, Real Madrid (he made one appearance) and Getafe.
On Sunday, inside Camp Nou, the 30-year-old stopper will be playing a larger part than he would have expected a couple of weeks ago.
Last weekend, he made his first La Liga appearance of the season, replacing Miguel Moya following his dismissal in Getafe's 3-1 win against Deportivo la Coruna.
His performance was decent, but this weekend he faces a Barcelona attack clear at the top as opposed to a Depor one losing ground at the bottom.
For any side to visit La Blaugrana and win, they need their keeper to be in top form.
Codina will need to be in just that when faced with the firing squad of Lionel Messi and company.