HAVING enjoyed great success in the Copa del Rey, Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) is back for another bash at finding winners from Thursday’s cup action in Spain.
Getafe v Villarreal | Thursday 19.00 | Sky Sports 5
I was fuming on Monday night. Having shortlisted Both Teams To Score as a serious contender as my ‘Best Bet’ for the La Liga game involving Getafe and Celta, I scribbled it out and instead chose the option of Both Teams To Score= ‘No’ instead. Of course, the game ended 2-1 in Getafe’s favour and I’m still raging about it now, come to think about it.
Why should you care? Why is it significant? Well, I felt their grounds for it on Monday against shot-shy Celta and so I’m happy to chance it on Thursday for the Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg. Paddy Power have made it an even-money chance and I’m happy to get involved at those odds.
The hosts are an odd team. They always have been since winning promotion and continually defying the odds to finish in mid-table in Spain’s top tier. Located in Madrid’s southern suburbs, the average crowd Getafe draw wouldn’t go amiss in League One whilst the ticket prices would make Premier League supporters think twice.
Coach Cosmin Contra was effectively sold in the winter break and Quique Flores has returned to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez for a second stint in charge. Since taking the hot-seat, Flores has overseen a record of W2-D1-L4 from his seven matches in charge. Nothing to write home about.
But the Deep Blues are getting goals, somehow. Getafe have scored in eight of their last 11 outings with Barcelona, Real Madrid and the first leg of this tie away to Villarreal the only three games in which they’ve failed to notch. At the Coliseum they’ve netted in eight of their 13 outings. Decent enough, right?
Villarreal are enjoying a marvellous run. Now unbeaten in 17 matches, they hold a 1-0 advantage from last week’s encounter. Although they were unable to put the Deep Blues to the sword, they boast the tools to pick their hosts defence to pieces, should Marcelinho release the shackles in the capital.
Nine clean sheets in 12 for the Yellow Submarine might put a few off this punt but seven of those shutouts were earned on home soil. In fact, Villarreal can only lay claim to three clean sheets in their last 13 on their travels. That’s led to 10 Both Teams To Score winners, including away games at second division Cadiz and Real Sociedad in previous Copa del Rey rounds.
Sevilla v Espanyol | Thursday 21.00 | Sky Sports Extra
Sevilla face a tough task if they’re to reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals but I’m backing Unai Emery’s side to pull off the unexpected on Thursday night. The 2010 champions trail Espanyol 3-1 on aggregate but can be backed at 7/4 with William Hill to qualify.
Carlos Bacca’s 90th minute consolation in last week’s first leg has given the Rojiblancos real hope. Sevilla were well beaten 3-1 at Valencia on Sunday night but know should revenge be on the cards, they’ll be avoiding any of the big guns until the final of the competition. And that’s a huge carrot.
The Rojiblancos are normally reliable on their home turf too. At the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Sevilla have W13-D2-LO this season, keeping eight clean sheets and winning eight of those 15 matches by a margin of two goals or more.
Espanyol head to Andalusia on a four-match winning streak but all four victories were recorded at their Barcelona base and the Parakeets tend to struggle when away from their nest. On the road, Sergio Gonzalez’s charges have W2-D2-L7 of their 11 with one of those victories coming at second tier Alaves in a previous round.
Five of those seven losses have come by a margin of two goals or more and they’ll face a backs-against-the wall job on Thursday night. Can they ride out the storm? I’m not so sure. So I’m happy to have a small play on Sevilla to make it through to the semi-finals.
Getafe v Villarreal – Both Teams To Score (1/1 Paddy Power)
Sevilla v Espanyol – Sevilla to qualify (7/4 William Hill)