GETAFE welcome Espanyol for the early Wednesday encounter from La Liga. Jack Lambden (@_JackL_) sets the scene and shares his best bets.
Getafe v Espanyol | Sunday 14th June 2020, 18:30 | La Liga TV
It’s straight back into action for the teams in La Liga as two of the team’s surprise packages – one for the right reasons and one for the wrong – go head to head at Coliseum Alfonso Perez.
Madrid based Getafe have continued to surpass expectations to sit fifth, on course for consecutive finishes in the Europa League spots which considering the size of the club and the city giants they sit in the shadow of is quite something.
Since promotion back to the first division in 2017-18, manager José Bordalás has invested wisely and the club only missed out on qualification for the Champions League on the final day of last season. Bordalás’s 4-4-2 system and the team that takes to the pitch may not be the most glamorous but it is so often effective. Once the team win the ball back, they turn defence into attack very quickly once they win the ball back.
With the likes of Atletico Madrid and Valencia drawing far too many games, Getafe have managed to rotate their squad effectively to negotiate the gruelling league campaign, although the weekend defeat to Granada may show that it could take time for the squad to find a positive momentum again.
Although the recruitment and Bordalás’s coaching have been superb, as well as a defence that have conceded just 27 times in 28 matches, there’s no getting away from the rough nature of the squad that this past weekend reached the 100 cards for the season milestone. That’s by far and away the most of any team in Europe and averages out at 3.57 per La Liga game.
Impossible to ignore cards
It’s almost impossible to resist a cards angle when looking to place so money on a Getafe game and a trend that sticks out, not just with the Deep Blues but across the division, is second half cards.
Getafe’s last 10 matches have seen a whopping 70 cards in the second 45 minutes which I guess can come as little surprise when you factor in that the team themselves concede 18.9 fouls per match, the highest in La Liga by far.
The referee for this match – Jose Munuera – has dished out seven cards for Getafe in the two games he has officiated them so like most men in the middle, has had no time for the antics of Bordalás’s players.
Second half bookings forms part of my double for this match which is Over 2.5 Second-Half Cards and Espanyol +1 Handicap, priced at a healthy 13/10 with William Hill on their BuildYourOdds feature. It’s a two-point play from me at the odds available.
Keeping Espanyol onside
I want to get Espanyol on side here despite them sitting rock bottom of the table. There’s no getting away from how bad the team’s first half of the season was, despite qualification from the Europa League group stages.
Just two wins pre Christmas and two managerial sackings was not what the Budgerigars expecting or hoping for from this season but the focus now switches to ensuring the team avoids dropping into the second tier for the first time since 1993.
Abelardo was appointed during the festive period and since his tenure has begun, the team have lost just 3 times in 10 league matches which is a marked improvement on the prior form. A lot of encouragement was taken from the first game of 2020 – a 2-2 draw with city rivals Barcelona where the manager orchestrated a spirited comeback against his former employees to register a precious point.
The coach has his troops playing on the front foot and will certainly be pleased that they have now found the net in nine of his 10 matches in charge, seemingly solving an issue in front of goal which existed for so much of the season prior to his arrival.
Raul de Tomas hit the ground running in terms of goals and all-round influence to the team and fellow January signings Embarba and Cabrera have settled in quickly to their surroundings. Saturday’s 2-0 win over Alaves was impressive in how dominant Espanyol were (even if it was against 10 men for so long), the squad showing a collective confidence that they can win games again.
Indeed, of the three defeats the White and Blues have suffered under Abelardo’s stewardship, all have been by a single goal so I can’t see, even if the team does lose the game, that a two-goal victory for Getafe is going to be forthcoming.
Although Getafe welcome some players back from suspension for this match, defender Xabier Etxeita has reached a yellow card limit so will out of action, such is the nature of the squad’s ill discipline and is something we have become accustomed to seeing.
With three defeats in five, Getafe need to find their winning formula again and this will be, in my view, a tricky test for them despite what the league table might suggest. The cards element adds an extra bit of interest, with it landing in each of the home team’s last 10 fixtures.
Getafe v Espanyol – Espanyol +1 Handicap and Over 2.5 Second Half Cards (13/10 William Hill)