.@carles5puyol sidelined for 4 to 6 weeks

Puyol leaves the pitch / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The FC Barcelona captain has strained the posterior cruciate ligament in his left leg. He’ll undergo further tests this Sunday to determine the extent of his injury

Vilanova: “It’s always a problem when you lose a player like him. He brings a lot to the team. Hopefully we can get him back soon”

Carles Puyol was one of the surprises in Tito Vilanova’s lineup against Getafe this afternoon. However, on 53 minutes, the Barça captain and Barrada collided and the Azulgrana had to be subbed off the pitch. Medical tests indicate that the player has strained the posterior cruciate ligament in his left leg.

The player will be sidelined for four to six weeks. Puyol will undergo further tests on Sunday to determine the extent of his injury. “We had problems with our center backs. It’s always a problem when you lose players like him. We know how important Puyol is to the team. He played well throughout the match, he brings a lot to the team. Hopefully we can get him back soon,” said Tito Vilanova in the post-match press conference.

Spartak Moscow held to a two-all draw

Spartak / PHOTO: uefa.com
FC Barcelona’s first rival in the Champions League, Spartak Moscow, were held to a two-all draw against Kuban Krasnodar

Celtic Glasgow, another rival in the Champions League, lost to St. Johnstone

Barça’s first opponent in the Champions League, Spartak Moscow, tied at two in their Russian league match-up this afternoon. The Russian team was unable to overcome Kuban Krasnodar, despite taking an early lead on 13 minutes (goal scored by McGeady). On 27 minutes, Kuban equalised and both teams went to the break with 1-1 on the scoreboard.

At the start of the second half, Spartak reclaimed the lead, but Kuban drew level 10 minutes later. The last 30 minutes of the match saw both teams try to score the game-wining goal, but neither side managed to break the deadlock. Spartak now sit in the seventh spot in the Russian league standings, and will visit Barcelona this Wednesday for their first match of the Champions League group stage.

Celtic are defeated

FC Barcelona’s other rival in the group stage, Celtic Glasgow, lost its match against St. Johnstone by 2 to 1. The Glasgow-based team took the lead on four minutes thanks to a goal scored by Kris Commons. It looked as though Celtic were going to take the match, but on 18 minutes St. Johnstone managed to draw level thanks to a goal scored by Gregory Tadeo. From that moment on, the game turned into a back and forth, with clear chances for both sides. The deadlock was broken on 80 minutes when Rowan Vine scored the game-winning goal for St. Johnstone.

Celtic will face Benfica on Wednesday, 20.45, in its first Champions League group stage game.

First team arrive in Madrid

PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Tito Vilanova’s men, who will play against Getafe at 20.00 (GolT, Canal + Liga), have arrived in Madrid

Tito Vilanova’s men have arrived in Madrid for this afternoon’s match against Getafe (20.00, GolT, Canal + Liga). The Azulgranas, led by vice-president Jordi Cardoner and the directors Pilar Guinovart and Josep Ramon VidalAbarca, left the Camp Nou at 9.45 and arrived in Madrid at 11.30.

The players will rest at the Eurostars Madrid Tower hotel until kick off time at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez.

Getafe v FC Barcelona: Difficult visit to Coliseum

FOTO: ARXIU FCB
20.00, Gol T and Canal+ Liga –Barça go on a never easy visit to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez looking to make it four wins out of four in La Liga

His cheekbone now recovered, Puyol returns to the 19-strong squad that includes two Barça B players in Tello and Deulofeu

Getafe on Saturday will be a stern test for the Liga leaders. They have three wins out of three ahead of the trip to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, and coaches and players alike have been saying this week that the main aim is to maintain that lead for the Real Madrid match at the Camp Nou. But Tito Vilanova has already warned his players about the dangers of a game at Getafe, a side that as already shown what it is made of by beating Madrid in their only other home fixture played to date.

What’s more, Barça lost on their last visit to Getafe, one of just two defeats in the whole Liga season. The other was at the Reyno de Navarra. Curiously, Barça have already avenged that defeat with a 2-1 win in Pamplona and now have the chance to avenge the other at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, where a win would also confirm one of the best starts to a league campaign in recent years.

Missing Iniesta, Alexis and Alba but Puyol is back

Vilanova is missing both Iniesta and Alexis due to injuries sustained while away on international duty. Jordi Alba also misses the trip with flu. But the positive news is the return of Carles Puyol from his absence with a cheekbone injury. The squad travelling to Madrid includes 17 players from the first team plus Barça B’s Tello and Deulofeu. There were no places for Fontàs or Dos Santos.

New faces

Barça are facing a team that has four points so far this season, the same as sides like Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid and Levante. Luis García has a highly competitive set of players under his command, with plenty of new blood added over the summer, including experienced players like Moyà, Lafita and former Barça man Xavi Torres, and such promising youngsters as Álvaro Vázquez. Players heading in the opposite direction include Miku, who has been loaned out to Glasgow Celtic.

Tito Vilanova: “The best way to beat the FIFA Virus is to win at Getafe”

Tito Vilanova | FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Barça manager thinks winning all three points at the ever-difficult Coliseum Alfonso Pérez would be the best way to deal with the problem of so many absent international players being away this week

On the five-point lead over Real Madrid, Vilanova says “the important thing is that we’ve got nine points”

September 11 demo

Tito Vilanova also spoke about the independence march on the National Day of Catalonia and the repercussions it’s having. “It was a peaceful demonstration, in which one and a half million took part. If so many people take to the streets it’s because they’re not happy about something. We’re in a democracy and we have the right to express ourselves however we want. Everyone is free to express their feelings and they should be respected”.

But does he expect a hostile reception in Getafe because of the current political climate and especially following the comments made by Guardiola on the matter? Said Vilanova “I don’t think the atmosphere will be any more unfavourable than on other occasions. Guardiola, Vicente del Bosque… Let people be free to say what they like”.

Now that the international break is over, Barça return to Liga action on Saturday in search of the fourth win out of four at the ever-difficult Getafe, where they lost last season. Tito Vilanova is well aware of the dangers. “Getafe has always been a tough ground for us. Last year they sat back and defended. I just watched the game again and we weren’t comfortable with it. Their players play very tight together. I know exactly how we have to play against them”.

He also spoke about the international break, and how in its wake he has been left with three unavailable players, Iniesta, Alexis and Jordi Alba. But rather than moan about it, he’s ready to assume the consequences. “It’s inevitable” he said. “We’re lucky enough to have the best players in the world and that’s why we have to let them go. So they get injured? That could happen here too. It happens to any players at big clubs. It’s normal for people to want to play for their country, it’s a privilege”.

Cover for changes

Asked what he’ll do about the three players that are out for the game at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, Vilanova admitted that “it changes things a bit. It doesn’t just affect the starting eleven, but also possible changes in the second half … There’s nothing we can do about it, but the best way to beat the FIFA Virus is by beating Getafe”.

Considering who’s missing, this might mean chances for Thiago and Villa. On the former, Vilanova said that “he’s been training very well over the last few weeks and is in good shape,” while on the Asturian he commented that “he can play more than 45 minutes, he’s getting better every day”. He also spoke about Cesc Fàbregas, “a top level player that would be in the first eleven of any team in the world,” and also Puyol, who has been declared fit and “feels confident with the protection and is ready to play”.

Nine points what matter most

Three matches before the clásico, Barça lead Real Madrid by five points. Vilanova reckons “the objective is to worry about each game … It’s no use looking further ahead. The most important game right now is against Getafe. It’s a difficult ground, against a team that not so long ago beat Madrid, and we know all about the difficulties we’ll face … The most important thing is that we’ve got nine points … It’s still early, and there are a lot of points left to play for and the gap is still small. The time will come when we’ll be able to think ahead, but it’s not this time”.