Seeing the Copa del Rey draw this morning hurt. It should have been us. Every single team left in the tournament is either behind us in La Liga or in an entirely different division and here we are, hoping we make top 6 so that we can play in Europe. I can practically see the Copa Trophy in the locker room with our guys after the final in Seville.
But we gotta shake that off. We have to move on. We have to turn our attention, our focus, and our passion to the next opponent, and that’s Real Valladolid.
Now, you’d think that a club with the Ronaldo Nazario, one of the greatest goalscorers of all time, as its majority owner would play an exciting and swashbuckling brand of attacking football. This crowd does anything but. They are dead last in expected goals in all of La Liga, and they are out-performing their expected goals against by nearly ten goals so far this season.
What does this mean? It means they want the game to end in a tie. They want to bunker in, suck out your sould, and live to play in La Liga again next season. Since mid November, here are the scores to their matches in La Liga: 0-1. 0-0, 0-0, 0-2, 1-1, 2-2, 0-0, 0-1, 1-0.
Four league goals in basically three months. This isn’t just a matter of their strikers playing poorly, this is a team that is 15th in La Liga in possession who attempts 70 long passes a game. They just want to sit back, kick it long, and hope for the best.
We’re in for an ugly football match.
Our all time record against this crowd isn’t great. In 23 matches our record is 8-4-11. Let’s hope for something better this weekend.
What on earth are we going to do in central defense? That’s the massive question for this match. If Raul Albiol is back, then I think he and Funes Mori can hold down the fort but whatever we do I just do not think I can stomach any more time of Sofian Chakla being on the pitch. Shoring up central defense and showing a fire and passion that we quite frankly didn’t have against Mirandes are the most important aspects of this game.
I’m gonna say we find a goal in this thing somewhere. If Chakla doesn’t play, it’s a 1-0 win. If he’s on the pitch, I’m calling it 1-1.