With Thomas Vermaelen missing due to injury, Samuel Umtiti suspended and Gerard Piqué left on the bench, it was the turn of Yerry Mina and Frenchman Lucas Digne to form the central defensive tandem against Getafe at Camp Nou on Sunday. The Colombian, brought in during the January transfer window to replace the departing Javier Mascherano, made an excellent impression on his Camp Nou debut. As well as his 78 successful passes, four recoveries and three perfect tackles, he came close to breaking the deadlock in the second half with a powerful header. For his part Lucas Digne, more accustomed to playing at left back, also looked comfortable playing in the middle of the back four with 93 successful passes and 13 recoveries.
The most common centre half combination is that of Piqué and Umtiti. The Catalan and the Frenchman have played 18 times together this season with Vermaelen and Piqué having been paired together nine times. The Belgian came into the side following the Frenchman’s injury against Celta. The former Arsenal man has been in spectacular form this season, excelling in testing environments such as Mestalla against Valencia and the Santiago Bernabéu against Real Madrid. Coach Valverde has used all five centre backs in the first team squad as well as David Costas from the B squad who featured in the Copa del Rey game against Real Murcia.
In total the 10 different combinations of centre backs, along with the great performances in between the posts from Marc-André ter Stegen and Jasper Cillessen, have given Barça their best defensive record in the last eight seasons, conceding just 19 goals in 39 official matches so far this campaign. They have kept a clean sheet in 23 of those games, helping them to top sport in the league, the Copa del Rey final and the last 16 of the Champions League.