Villarreal conclude an eventful 2018-19 campaign with an away match at Getafe. Villarreal fans had been hoping we would have already secured Primera football for next season before this game rolled around, and so it has proven. What no one could have expected was that this match is a big one for Getafe.
In fairness, El Geta have had something of a bad rap. Creating a fanbase for a team that was in the regional leagues in the 1980’s, and a Segunda B regular only twenty years ago, is not easy—especially when you’re in the Madrid metropolitan area and so allegiances are already pretty well set between Atleti and Real Madrid. Leganés have the same problem.
Getafe had a first good run in the Primera from 2004 to 2010, finishng in the top half of the table three times, getting to two Copa del Rey finals, and getting to a UEFA Cup quarterfinal. When they were relegated in 2016 they could have sunk into the Segunda morass, but instead they came straight back and finished 8th last season.
And this season, José Bordalas’s side may not be winning any awards for beautiful football (they won’t). They possess the ball less than anyone; they complete fewer of their passes than anyone. They are 5th in aerial battles won per game, but the teams ahead of them have a higher percentage of battles won. And they are an astonishing next-to-last in shots per game—only Athletic Bilbao are worse. Honestly, if they had Rory Delap in their side for long throw-ins, they’d be a dead ringer for 2008-09 Stoke City!!
And yet....they are fifth, with a 15-13-9 record. How? Garra Charrúa, first of all—Uruguayan defenders Damian Suarez and Leandro Cabrera, midfielder Mauro Arambarri are key components of this team, who have the second best defensive record in La Liga. Good defense from Antunes and Djéne Dakonam. And while the forwards, Jaime Mata, Jorge Molina, and Angel Rodriguez, may not get many chances per match, they have been good at converting them—the trio have 36 of Getafe’s 46 goals.
For this match, a couple of those key players—Antunes and Dakounam—are missing, which may help us.
Villarreal have the same absentees as usual—Miguelón, Bonera, and Bruno—plus Mario Gaspar is suspended. I expect we will go with a 4-2-3-1 type lineup, but I would be tempted to play a 3-5-2, put our tank Pedraza on the left side, and let the mayhem begin.
All-time record: Decent (13-4-8 overall in the Primera, 4-3-5 away) though our last visit here was a 4-0 loss in September 2017 that spelled the end for Fran Escribá. (In fairness, he did start Ruben Semedo as a centerback for that match).
What’s at stake for the home side: Getafe are even on points with Valencia, who play at Valladolid. (Valencia own the tiebreak). Sevilla (two points back) are in 6th and host Athletic Bilbao, who are three points further off the pace in seventh. Suffice it to say, Valencia supporters will be hoping we can get a result here given their team’s struggles on the road.
Prediction: If Getafe can score twice they’ll win; if Villarreal can score twice, they’re likely to. So 1-1 it is!!!