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Barcelona thrash Getafe as La Liga leaders edge closer to title

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ESPN FC's Steve Nicol gives his take on Barcelona's penalty kick woes this season and how they can remedy the situation.

Lionel Messi created three goals and scored another as Barcelona warmed up for their Champions League showdown with Arsenal by thrashing Getafe 6-0 at the Camp Nou to equal a club record 12 consecutive La Liga wins.

Messi missed a fourth penalty of the season after Juan Rodriguez's own goal had given the Catalans the lead after just eight minutes, but soon made amends by laying on goals for Munir El Haddadi and Neymar before he got on the scoresheet himself with a brilliant strike from 20 yards.

Messi got his third assist by teeing up Neymar's second after the break and then Arda Turan scored for the second time in three matches with an impressive bicycle kick.

Barca went into the game on the back of their first week of the year without a competitive game, and Luis Enrique made five changes to the team that won 4-0 at Eibar last weekend.

He started without Luis Suarez, Dani Alves and Ivan Rakitic and rested Sergio Busquets altogether, while Javier Mascherano was suspended.

Barcelona star Neymar enjoyed a successful return to action following a suspension.

But even up against a changed Barca side, the odds were stacked against Getafe, who have not won in the league since mid-January, their 1-1 draw with Sevilla last weekend ending a run of seven straight defeats.

Barca were all over Fran Escriba's side from the off and were soon ahead when the luckless Rodriguez turned the ball in at the near post as he tried to clear Jordi Alba's cutback following a sweeping pass from Messi.

Barca had a chance to add a second two minutes later when Emiliano Velazquez brought down Neymar, but Messi, who had scored a penalty against Eibar, was denied by goalkeeper Vicente Guaita diving to his left to parry the shot.

Messi then volleyed a chipped pass from Andres Iniesta across the area, which found Munir to nod into the net.

Neymar had another penalty appeal waved away when falling under a challenge, while Gerard Pique struck a post from close range.

Getafe were helpless against wave after wave of Barcelona attacks and conceded a third when Sergi Roberto won the ball and quickly gave it to Messi, who strode forward and played a low pass for Neymar to side-foot a first-time effort into the far bottom corner.

Messi then scored the pick of the four goals in the first half, curling into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Barca did not let up after the break, Neymar hitting his 21st goal of the season following another pass from Messi.

And Turan rounded off the rout by making up for a glaring miss a few minutes earlier by executing an overhead kick from close range after a flicked pass from Pique.

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