Yerry Mina impresses in first start but Barcelona struggle
Barcelona failed to break down durable Getafe at Camp Nou and the 0-0 draw means their lead at the top of the table has been cut to seven points after Atletico Madrid beat Malaga on Saturday. The hosts failed to record a shot on target in the first half and, although Yerry Mina and Philippe Coutinho came close after the break, it was not enough to earn three points.
Mina made his full debut and was impressive at the back; his pairing with Lucas Digne did not result in disaster as Barcelona kept a clean sheet despite missing three first-choice centre-backs. Ousmane Dembele was able to return for his (second) comeback from injury.
The team looked uninspired, with Lionel Messi’s form a far cry from the heights he has hit in recent weeks. Motivation may be a problem in games like this; are Barcelona already thinking about their Champions League clashes with Chelsea and the Copa del Rey final?
Manager rating out of 10
6 — Ernesto Valverde threw on Dembele and Andres Iniesta from the bench but his changes did not have the desired effect and neither changed the game
Player ratings (1-10, 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 6 — The goalkeeper had little to do, although he displayed excellent technique when he dribbled around a Getafe attacker in the first minute after turning sharply in the box.
DF Sergi Roberto, 6 — He seems to be Valverde’s first-choice right-back and got forward well on a couple of occasions. He also proved reliable at the back against the persistent Amath Ndiaye.
DF Yerry Mina, 7 — In his first start, he was solid and strong in the tackle and did well to block Angel Rodriguez’s strike, which was Getafe’s best chance. At the other end Mina twice came close with headers and was arguably Barcelona’s most dangerous player.
DF Lucas Digne, 6 — The defender was playing out of position at centre-back because Gerard Pique, Thomas Vermaelen and Samuel Umtiti were absent for various reasons. Digne did a solid job with Mina, although on occasion he was unsure of his positioning.
DF Jordi Alba, 6 — Although he usually gets up and down the wing, on this occasion his impact was limited. He still needs to work on his relationship with Coutinho and was more threatening after Iniesta came on.
MF Sergio Busquets, 6 — He wasn’t able to pull the strings in midfield with his usual silky touch and his booking for a cynical foul in the second half means he has been shown eight yellow cards this season in domestic competition.
MF Ivan Rakitic, 7 — Barcelona’s best midfielder, although he did most of his work in defensive areas, dropping in deep frequently between Mina and Digne. His passing was crisp and he helped shuttle the ball forward.
MF Philippe Coutinho, 6 — He could not kick on after scoring his first goal against Valencia. At least he became the first Barcelona player to register a shot on target, although it was weak. He later tested Vicente Guaita from distance before being taken off.
FW Paco Alcacer 5 — The striker’s season appears to have been derailed by the injury he suffered in December, before which he put in a string of good performances. Since returning he has made little impact and, on Sunday, he he offered nothing when stuck on the right.
FW Lionel Messi, 6 — Was at his skilful best against Valencia but it looked as if those Copa del Rey exertions on Thursday took a lot out of him. A couple of nice passes were wasted by his teammates but this was one of Messi’s worst displays on what was his 300th appearance at Camp Nou.
FW Luis Suarez, 6 — Worked hard and “scored” a brilliant volley, although it was correctly disallowed for offside just before half-time. Suarez was constantly harrying the Getafe defence, although his grit and determination did not convert into goals.
MF Andres Iniesta, 6 — One moment of magic saw the midfielder break free in the area but his cross was cut out.
FW Ousmane Dembele, 5 — Made his return after a hamstring problem but, although at first it seemed like his pace was going to be useful, his decision making and passing accuracy were off. Needs time to find form after a stop-start season.
MF Paulinho, NR — Had eight minutes to make an impact but was barely able to get involved as Getafe closed ranks.
Richard Martin covers FC Barcelona for ESPN FC. Twitter: @rich9908.