It’s 5th vs 6th with only one point separating them and only four matches to play. This is the sort of thing that makes or breaks European hopes. We are three points clear of Real Sociedad in 7th, and have a match coming up against them as well, so we really can’t afford to lose this match.
The sad part about our earlier season form, specifically the three match losing streak that we went into the long break with, is that we made it harder to benefit from our good run of form we’ve seen the last couple of weeks. Even after all the points we have won in June and July, we still desperately need every single match.
The big name missing from Getafe will be Jorge Molina through suspension. The 38 year old has five goals this campaign and is a regular part of their plans, appearing in 31 of their league matches so far this season. We have our own striker issues to worry about, but it’s good to know Getafe will be missing a key player up front.
Getafe have the second most pressures in their own attacking third of anyone in the league, the most in the middle third, and the most attempted pressures overall. If we get the ball into their defensive third they’ll back off the pressure some and regroup but they won’t be giving us anything easy in the buildup. How our players handle the ball under pressure is going to be the single most important tactical factor in this match.
A striker, a striker, my kingdom for a striker! Bacca has a tear in his right hamstring, Paco is ‘being assessed’. I doubt we see the Colombian again this season and who knows when the Spaniard will be back. I don’t see Calleja trusting Fer Nino in such a big match so it seems like our options are either change formation of play Chukwueze at striker.
Oh, and Gerard is one yellow away from suspension.
This starting XI is harder to predict than some other recent ones because we are banged up and on shorter rest. If he plays Mario again after the way Barcelona targeted him all night long he really needs someone other than Samu above him to offer him defensive help, especially since Getafe’s most gifted creative player Cucurella, plays on that side. Here’s my best guess for our formation:
I think this is a winnable match for us, but ultimately I see it ending in a draw, 1-1.