Pedro steps up with hat trick for Barca

Posted by Francesc Tomas

Barcelona achieved an intriguing 5-2 win against Getafe on Sunday at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez in matchday 17 of La Liga. Pedro Rodriguez (hat trick) and Cesc Fabregas (brace) scored for the Blaugrana, who enjoyed 74 percent of possession, created 15 scoring chances and attempted 14 shots, seven on target.

Key 1 -- Despite the clearly favourable final scoreline, this was a hugely difficult match for the Blaugranas after an appalling start. The Catalans only found their best rhythm with a half-hour gone, when they had a fully deserved 2-0 deficit.

- Corrigan: Three things - Getafe vs. Barcelona

A great spell of effective, meaningful passes turned the game around, fortunate for those Cules who feared an end to Barca's 54-round run at the top of La Liga. It felt as if the lethargic Barcelona players managed to somehow click the "on" button. Immediately, they started to recover the ball farther up the field, make sense of their possession and dominate the game.

Surpassing all expectations, it was Pedro who led the way with an astounding hat trick before the halftime break, turning the match upside down in just nine minutes. His unexpected burst of pride, speed and skill ensured the Catalans regained control of a game which, quite frankly, could have become a virtually impossible mission without his decisive contribution.

The second half saw the return of the most effective Barcelona thanks to the consistency that Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets brought to their midfield, organising possession well and speeding the pace up when needed.

Key 2 -- The absences of Lionel Messi (still injured) and Neymar (suspension) were a potential worry for the Catalans ahead of the game. There is no point on denying that missing the best footballer on the planet and the youngster who had stepped up in his absence seriously diminished the team's goal-scoring power upfront.

Pedro excelled when the team needed him the most. His nine-minute hat trick turned the adverse scoreline around even before the halftime break; his assist and the penalty he forced in the second half ensured these crucial three points ended up in the Catalans' tally.

As usual, El Canario opened up the pitch as a wide winger and succeeded in creating spaces behind the rivals' back line. His ability to run toward goal diagonally, take on defenders and finish confidently unbalanced the game in Barcelona's favour.

It is fantastic to see the hard-working Spanish international finding the net consistently, especially after his below-par return last season. Ultimately, credit must be given to coach Gerardo Martino for giving him enough playing time to show his worth and enable him to compete with Alexis Sanchez for a starting spot in Barcelona's first XI on a regular basis -- an internal rivalry within teammates that is clearly benefitting the team as a whole.

I sincerely hope this confident, freer Pedro will remain once Messi and Neymar return early in the new year. Being tied with La Pulga at the top of Barcelona's scoring list (14 goals) should certainly be enough to keep his confidence boost going for the foreseeable future.

Key 3 -- Martino could not have been happy with his team's lack of defensive discipline during the opening stages. Despite fielding an experienced back line, players such as the returning Dani Alves were often caught out of position and allowing Getafe to test goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto far too easily as a result.

The bottom line is obvious: Barcelona are just not defending as well as should be expected. While factors such as absences, bad luck or poor concentration could be used as excuses, I still believe the signing of a robust world-class defender is a must in order for the Catalans to reach the level of consistency required to succeed at the highest level. An increased team effort toward supporting each other throughout the 90 minutes wouldn't hurt, either.

The quote: "Barcelona win games when we play good football. If we were capable of keeping clean sheets, we wouldn't need to make this sort of comeback. We need to solve that. Despite the absences, this squad can always field an excellent first eleven. Pedro has been fantastic, he always scores many goals." -- Martino.

146,000 Cules follow Francesc Tomas at @TomasESPN and Barcablog Facebook for news and opinion notes on Barcelona.

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