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07.02.2010 12:36

Players show they can rise above adversity

Roger Bogunyà

The Getafe game threw almost every possible problem at Guardiola’s team – two red cards, a penalty against them and two injuries, but the team showed they could overcome these difficulties and still come out on top.

With Piqué and Marquez both sent off and Alves and Touré both injured, this was a tough call for the nine men who finished the game, but they again showed they can rise to the occasion and win even with everything going against them.

Maxwell on the right and Touré in the centre

2010-02-05_PARTIDO_09.JPGWith Alves getting injured in the warm up, it fell to Maxwell to fill in at right back – a position he’d covered in the Cup against Leon- and he again showed his versatility with a solid performance at the back and also pushing forward on occasions.

Piqué’s red card was Guardiola’s second problem and the boss moved Touré into the back line – a role he’d filled so well in last year’s Champions League semi-final at Stamford Brideg – to accompany Milito who was making his full league debut this season after injury. The new pairing worked well and Getafe failed to worry the two centre backs.

Busquets strengthens midfield

2010-02-05_PARTIDO_30.JPGGuardiola sacrificed Ibra in the second half to bring on Busquets as an extra midfielder and leave Messi up top on his own and with Xavi and Keita both pushing to support from the now four-man midfield the team made a few good chances. Then, Touré limped off and in a straight swap, Marquez took over as Milito’s new partner.

Three central defence pairings

The two had only played at the heart of the defence together for a few minutes at the end of the Tenerife game, but they had no problems fitting in together and only the move leading to the late penalty caused any real problem. With Marquez also getting his marching orders and Touré and Alves ruled out, Guardiola will have to send out a new look back four for next week’s game away to Atletico Madrid.

Guardiola sorts out his tactics

2010-02-05_PARTIDO_29.JPGPiqué’s straight red card was only the second under Guardiola, following Keita’s in last season’s defeat to Espanyol, when the team found it hard to adapt to playing with 10 and Guardiola admitted he’d not got his tactics right, but this time the boss organised his team perfectly after the sending off.

The team have only had 11 players sent off since Guardiola took over, in 9 different games and only against Osasuna at the end of last season, with the league title already won, did the team lose the match.
Despite being reduced to 10 men in the Champions and Spanish Cup semis last season and against Madrid in the league this year, Barca have always managed to come out on top.
Players show they can rise above adversity
Piqué and Márquez sent off together last season too
Curiously, it’s not the first time Piqué and Marquez have both been sent off in the same game - they both got their marching orders against Racing in Santander last year towards the end of the 1-2 win that also saw Messi score the club’s 5.000th goal.

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