Pedri scored the only goal of the game as Barcelona secured a 1-0 win over Getafe at the Camp Nou on Sunday to cement their hold on top of LaLiga.
Barcelona struggled to break down a stubborn Getafe side and it took a mistake for them to open the scoring. Andreas Christensen intercepted a pass by Damien Suarez and fed Rafinha, who squared up for Pedri to convert his fifth goal of the season.
Getafe almost equalized immediately when Pedri unintentionally played a bad ball at Borja Mayoral, but former Real Madrid striker Marc-Andre ter Stegen prevented him.
Substitute Frank Casey was sent off late on by visiting goalkeeper David Soria and Ansu Fati beat the ball as Barcelona had to settle for just one goal.
1. Barcelona fulfills its mission after a long period in Saudi Arabia and Africa
It was no old performance for Barcelona, but it marked an important three points in the grand scheme of the LaLiga title race. Not every display will be as flashy as last weekend’s Supercopa victory over Real Madrid, and perhaps that explains, in a way, why Xavi Hernandez’s side weren’t at their best against Getafe.
Five days in Saudi Arabia culminated last Sunday with a score of 3-1 Classico Winning and the first title in the era of Xavi in Barcelona. Barcelona did not have long to celebrate, because on Thursday, via plane and helicopter, they were heading to the North African coast for the Copa del Rey match in the independent Spanish city of Ceuta, where they won 5-0 to advance to the quarter-finals.
They returned home on Sunday, but the travel affected some. Ronald Araujo and Frenkie de Jong suffered minor blows and were in no danger against Getafe, while top scorers Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres were suspended.
Given all the context, points could take precedence over performance as they moved six points clear of Real Madrid, who travel to Athletic Bilbao later on Sunday.
2. Christensen’s growing importance to Barcelona
January showed the growing importance of Andreas Christensen in the Barcelona team. The Danish defender, a free transfer from Chelsea, was tremendous in the win over Atletico Madrid before the Super Cup and impressed again against Madrid last weekend.
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Against Getafe, it was his interception and a quick pass that set up the goal. His ability to handle the ball has helped him as much as his defense in the middle of the four defenses despite competition from Jules Conde, Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia.
Therefore, Barcelona hopes that the hit taken in the first half will not be dangerous. Xavi certainly did not take risks. Realizing Christensen’s worth, he quickly chose to depose him. With Real Sociedad reaching the Copa Cup on Wednesday and Manchester United just around the corner in the Europa League, there are bigger challenges ahead.
3. Getafe’s relegation fears mounted
Getafe ruffled a few feathers among the Camp Nou crowd with their physical flair, but they left without points and remained one of a host of sides plagued by relegation fears. Only goal difference keeps them out of the bottom three at the moment, with Real Valladolid, Celta Vigo and Getafe all tied with 17 points.
The problem with Getafe is that they now have a difficult series of matches coming up. After losing at the Camp Nou, they face Real Betis, Atlético Madrid, Rayo Vallecano, Valencia and Villarreal in their next five matches. With the exception of 13th-placed Valencia – who have two games in hand in most of the league – these teams are all in the top nine.
Quique Sanchez Flores has a few things going for them. Again, with the exception of Valencia, they have the strongest defense in the bottom half of the table. They also have goals in Mayoral and Enes Onal – even if they didn’t take their chances against Barcelona.
The best and worst performers
Best: Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona
He didn’t add an assist or a goal to his numbers for the season, but he was one player who got the crowd to their feet in an unremarkable game with his direct runs with the ball.
Best: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barcelona
13 clean sheets this season and two great balls to ensure Barcelona got the three points.
Best: Jules Conde from Barcelona
Injuries and the World Cup derailed his start at Barcelona, but there are signs he is now finding his feet.
Worst: Ansu Fati, Barcelona
He rediscovered his goalscoring touch in January but missed several opportunities to add to his tally in Lewandowski’s absence
The worst: Borja Mayoral, Getafe
Wasted a one-on-one match with Ter Stegen after Pedri’s weak pass.
Worst: Damien Suarez, Getafe
The errant pass led to the opening goal and allowed Rafinha to get up behind him to shoot.
Highlights and notable moments
Despite Getafe’s efforts to defend and keep Barcelona at bay, the breakthrough usually comes for Barca – and it happened on Sunday in the 35th minute.
It was 20-year-old Pedri who came through his finish, putting Barcelona up 1-0.
Pedri opens the scoring against Getafe 👏 pic.twitter.com/niiVxiXzbF
– ESPN FC (ESPNFC) January 22, 2023
After the match: what the managers and players said
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez: I’m not playing well, we’re out of our game. We didn’t attack well. We defended well. It is difficult to attack such a low mass. We have to get better. But it was a really important win. We kept a clean sheet. We were good without the ball, but we didn’t create enough. You can feel mentally tired from the Supercopa. It’s three points without a good play.
Getafe manager Quique Sanchez Flores: In front of these teams, you must play mini-games for 15 minutes to try and get points. We play trying to steal the ball and attacking space. They are in good shape but we tried to surprise them and we were in the match. (Are you angry at the goal?) Yes, because against Espanyol and Sevilla we were also penalized for fouls.
Key stats (courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info)
Pedri scored his fourth league goal of the season, the most by a 20-year-old in a league season.
Pedri scored in consecutive matches (2 goals) for the first time in all competitions (98 matches).
Barcelona: Barcelona will host Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on Wednesday, January 25 (watch live on ESPN+ at 3pm ET). Then, Barcelona return to league action when they head to Girona on Saturday, January 28 (watch live on ESPN+ at 10:15 a.m. ET).
Getafe: azolones Real Betis will host LaLiga on Saturday, January 28th (watch live on ESPN+ at 3pm ET).