In one of those rare scheduling quirks that happens every so often, Villarreal have two home matches back-to-back, and welcome Getafe to El Madrigal. Marcelino has already said it's important for us not to let our guard down and keep playing hard, and looking at the upcoming schedule only reinforces this--two Valencian Community derbies on the road sandwiched between a home game against the very in-form Atletico Madrid. So three points from this match would be valuable indeed.
Our opponents: The Rodney Dangerfield of La Liga, Getafe just doesn't get any respect. Or for that matter, much of a fan following. The club was founded (reformed, really) in 1983 and began play in the Segunda regional league for Madrid, and by 2004 was promoted to the Primera, where they have remained since, even qualifying for the UEFA Cup and making it to the quarterfinals in the 2007-08 season. That's a very impressive history!
And yet. Getafe's basic problem is Madrid already has two large clubs that soak up most fan support, and a third, Rayo Vallecano, closely identified with Vallekas, not far from Getafe. Getafe itself is a town of 150,000, has a university, an air force base, a lot of industry, and easy transport links to Madrid, 10 miles away--not maybe the best place to try to build a fanbase. And we can't forget the "Getafe Team Dubai" scam either--though Malaga might say a real sheikh buying the club hasn't worked out any better than a fake one!
It seems to be a truism that showing promise in Real Madrid's cantera eventually leads to Getafe. Players like Ruben de la Red and Roberto Soldado have played here, and probably the two best players on their current squad--Pablo Sarabia and Pedro Léon--honed their trade in the Madrid ranks.
Getafe's level seems to be a comfortable mid-table. Four wins on the trot recently brought them to sixth place, but they lost at home to Athletic Bilbao in an unimpressive performance on Monday. Of the teams we've played at home so far, I'd say Getafe are most like Espanyol--they have a player or two who can cause problems, they will win some games you don't expect and will pick up enough points on the season to stay up, but they just don't create any excitement or belief that they can do much more than that (and I see Espanyol finishing ahead of Getafe once it's all done).
Against Espanyol, Jeremy Perbet scored in the first miinute, so any opportunity they might have had to park the bus went away. If Villarreal get ahead early--especially two goals by halftime--Getafe will pack it in. The longer they hang around, the more they might feel they can nick something from this one.
A key man is ex-Mallorca and ex-Valencia keeper Moya, who is one of the better keepers you're unlikely to have heard of in my book. Defense is okay, not great, and can be beaten by speed and through balls, so I expect they will be pretty willing to let us control the ball more than we've seen of late. Their midfield has Diego Castro, Angel Lafita, Sarabia, Leon--all decent or better. Up front will be their Romanian international, and big summer signing(on a free), Ciprian Marica, as Colunga is injured. I wouldn't expect Getafe to score many goals, either today or on the season.
Villarreal: There are some doubts for this one. Cani apparently has had an upset stomach this week and Bruno, though word was he was OK, was nicked up a bit on the Valencia match. In addition, with another match on Monday, Marcelino says he'll make some changes anyway.
I won't be terribly surprised if it turns out Jony or Perbet start instead of Uche; I would prefer to see Gio start this one and maybe rest against Elche. But we'll see. I expect Aquino to replace Hernan Perez on the right wing, and I think maybe Iñiguez gets a start instead of Dorado.
I am assuming at this point Cani will be OK; if he isn't, Manu Trigueros will take his place and Pina and Bruno will play in the pivote I would think.
Moi Gomez, whom I didn't expect to start anyway, is playing with the B team today. I'd love it if we could get ahead by three or four goals and Paulista could come on for us--but that's me being greedy!!
Prediction: Sidarth and I both predicted 3-1, and I see whoscored.com has predicted the same. So, I guess we know it won't be 3-1!! I can see this game going a couple of ways. If we start well and can finish our chances, it should be 2-0 by HT and we should probably coast to a 3-0 win.
If we're flat, we make mistakes, we don't put their defense under pressure, we don't finish or Moya plays really well, then a hugely disappointing 1-1 draw. Obviously, I'm hoping for the first of those possibilities, and with our secret weapon in the ground (Ravi) I am hoping we can do it.