How Barcelona Will Line Up Against Getafe

Jason PettigroveContributor IDecember 20, 2013

Neymar's booking against Villarreal has ruled him out of this match.
Neymar's booking against Villarreal has ruled him out of this match.David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona travel to the Spanish capital this weekend, with Getafe playing host to the La Liga leaders at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez.

Luis Garcia Plaza's side have enjoyed mixed results this season, losing as many matches as they've won (seven).

The chance to improve on their record was greatly enhanced once Neymar's booking against Villarreal ruled him out of this game. With Lionel Messi also out injured, goalscoring duties will fall to the less prolific Pedro Rodriguez, Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez.

Getafe currently sit in a respectable eighth place and could go joint sixth with a win against Barca and if results elsewhere are favourable.

For their part, Tata Martino and his squad will want to go into the winter break still atop La Liga and with their nearest rivals Atletico Madrid playing an eminently winnable game at home to Levante, it's imperative that Barca take the points from this one.

Jose Manuel Pinto will, most likely, play his last game before Victor Valdes returns between the posts in the New Year. On current form, it would be a surprise if the club were to dispense with Pinto's services completely at the end of this season despite his advancing age.

Jose Manuel Pinto has been an able deputy for Victor Valdes.
Jose Manuel Pinto has been an able deputy for Victor Valdes.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Whilst Dani Alves is likely to be given the medical green light for the weekend, Martino should consider leaving Martin Montoya in situ to allow the Brazilian another two weeks to fully recover from his injury.

Montoya will certainly need to do more to impress the manager whose anger was obvious during the Villarreal game. Time and again the Catalan favoured an unnecessary extra touch rather than a first-time ball into the box, and each time a presentable chance was squandered.

Jordi Alba should comfortably deal with any raids by Pedro Leon down the left-hand side, and he has the pace and trickery to trouble opposite number Alvaro Arroyo when attacking.

Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra will warm up for the Catalonia vs. Cape Verde friendly on December 30 by partnering each other in the centre of defence for this one. Getafe have only scored a total of 18 goals in their 16 matches so far, so the Blaugrana defensive unit should enjoy a relatively quiet afternoon's work.

Ciprian Marica has been especially disappointing this season for the hosts, scoring just a solitary goal since a transfer from German-side Schalke.

If Getafe are to get anything at all from the match, then the Romanian has to rediscover his goalscoring touch, and at over six feet, Marica certainly has the aerial presence to trouble a notoriously nervous defence.

With rumours of a January transfer away from Camp Nou for Alex Song, the chance to put the Cameroonian in the shop window may appeal to Martino at Sergio Busquets' expense.

Although fleeting, Sergi Roberto's appearances have become less sporadic of late with Martino looking to involve him at some point in most games. That pattern should continue here allowing Xavi the luxury of another few days rest.

Andres Iniesta will complete a strong Blaugrana lineup and his link up play with Cesc in the false nine position is likely to be a feature of this match, potentially the game winner.