Not so long ago, Getafe coach Míchel was being questioned by some in the press, but their recent form and win over Villarreal will surely keep them quiet for now. It’s true they had lost a few games, but included amongst those were losses to Barcelona and Valencia; no one expected them to win those games and a temporary slip down the table was almost inevitable. Though another (more understandable) reason for the criticism was as a result of Getafe’s poor performances in this season’s Europa League. After all the hard work they put in last season to qualify for Europe, all they could manage was one win in five games, meaning they went out in the group stages.
It was incredibly disappointing for the fans, and especially for outspoken president Ángel Torres. However, Mr. Torres himself didn’t really help when he raised the ticket prices for their European games and barely anyone turned up to support them. Back in November, Getafe played against Odense of Denmark, but only 2000 fans showed up to the 15,000 seated capacity Coliseum Alfonso Pérez stadium. “Football costs what it costs,” was the president’s rather calm, blasé response to an angry set of supporters. It wasn’t the smartest move, especially with relatively low attendances at the best of times.
Thankfully, Geta’s recent form has relieved Míchel of a lot of unfair pressure and criticism. Their impressive recent run of results began with a 3-1 win away to Sevilla, followed by a 3-0 home win against Mallorca. Two tough games, two great wins. Their latest was yet another important win against a very good, third-placed Villarreal side.
Again though, we saw familiar scenes at the Coliseum this weekend – lots of empty, blue seats. In fact the attendance was just below 10,000, against Villarreal, one of the most attractive footballing sides in La Liga. You can understand why Ángel Torres’ wishes for a new 20,000 arena were swiftly swept aside.
On the field, Getafe lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation – with Jaime Gavilán, Manu del Moral and the in-form Pedro Ríos supporting new favourite Miku upfront. Until recently, Adrián Colunga had been the main striker of choice, but Míchel has been very impressed with Miku of late, and he’s managed to become first choice in that position. Star midfielder Dani Parejo dropped back into a deeper role alongside Barça loanee Víctor Sánchez.
In truth, it wasn’t a great game. The first-half was rather uneventful and Getafe weren’t playing well. To make things worse, Geta centre-back Cata Díaz was shown a red card for a challenge on Nilmar. You would think that’d help Villarreal, but the opposite was true. Getafe came out and looked a much better team in the second-half, despite being a man short.
“In the second-half, Getafe, with a numerical disadvantage, had more focus, more defensive intensity and attacked faster,” admitted Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido. And, in the 88th minute, they got what they deserved thanks to substitute Juan Albín. The goal was created by winger Pedro Ríos, whose cross accurately found Casquero, who nodded the ball to Albín for him to control and finish. It was a fantastic moment for those supporters who did decide to show up for the game.
Moments after the goal, Albín, already on a yellow card, was sent off for removing his shirt. A stupid rule of course, but Albín should’ve expected it. “The president told me he is angry with him, but I forgive him,” said Míchel when asked about it after the game. He was also full of praise for Miku, commenting that the young Venezuelan had an “extraordinary match”.
The weekend win means that Getafe sit 7th in the table, just one place off the European spot they finished in last season. They may be out of Europe, but things are looking good in the league again, and for the job he’s done since taking over, Míchel should be praised and supported, not jumped on at the earliest opportunity. Getafe are in good hands.
Lower down the Lowdown
- Barcelona put in yet another sensational display of attacking football, this time against visitors Real Sociedad. Leo Messi added another two brilliant goals to his collection, with David Villa, Andrés Iniesta and Bojan getting the others. Incredibly, Barça also managed to notch up a total of 938 passes, with Xavi Hernández making up an amazing 120 of them. Talk about being passed off the park…this was just ridiculous.
- Over at La Romareda, Real Madrid beat relegation candidates Real Zaragoza 3-1. It was an easy win for Mourinho’s men, with goals coming from Mesut Özil, Ángel di María and a thumping free-kick by Cristiano Ronaldo (which I’m informed flew past Leo Franco at 105 km/h). It was also a game in which 18-year-old striker Álvaro Morata made his debut, reminding everyone of a certain Raúl, who made his debut for Real Madrid at a similar age. “Debuting for Real Madrid was a dream come true,” said the youngster, “I wouldn’t sell this shirt for 20 million euros.”
- Leo Messi isn’t the only diminutive Argentine playing well in La Liga – step forward Pablo Piatti. The little forward led Almería to a resounding 3-1 victory against Sevilla at the Sánchez Pizjuán, scoring two spectacular goals along the way. As for Sevilla, they seem to be in freefall at the moment, having lost their last four league games and slipping down to 11th place. Tough task for the recently appointed Gregorio Manzano, who was supposed to be a big improvement.
- “Pellegrini has no defence,” sniped Marca once again as Hércules battered Málaga 4-1 at home. It was in fact Málaga who opened the scoring through Sebastián Fernández early in the first-half, but Hércules came out a different team in the second period scoring four goals in just over ten minutes. David Trezeguet marked his eighth goal of the season, Royston Drenthe converted a penalty, and then Abraham Paz and Kiko Fermenía became their first Spanish goal scorers this year. And although he didn’t score himself, Nelson Valdez put in another brilliant attacking performance.
- “Kun, Kun, Kun” rang loud and clear at the Vicente Calderón, as Kun Agüero dragged Atlético to victory after losing their last three games. The Argentinean scored twice against a negative Deportivo playing five across the back. He was, as Atlético coach Fran Escriba put it after the game, “decisive”. Escriba took the place of under-fire manager Quique Sánchez Flores in the post-match press conference.
Sevilla 1-3 Almería, Getafe 1-0 Villarreal, Atlético 2-0 Deportivo, Mallorca 0-1 Racing, Athletic 2-1 Espanyol, Sporting 1-1 Levante, Hércules 4-1 Málaga, Zaragoza 1-3 Real Madrid, Barcelona 5-0 Real Sociedad, Valencia 3-3 Osasuna.
Goal of the Week
Cristiano Ronaldo (Zaragoza 1-3 Real Madrid)