Gameday 27 of La Liga featured a highly interesting game between Getafe and Huesca. Fighting to reach a Champions League spot, Getafe were highly motivated against their opponent, Huesca, who sit bottom of the table. The away team, however, are still only four points away from the 17th position, which would be enough to avoid relegation. Thus, an intense game occurred, with Getafe having lady luck on their side. The following tactical analysis will explain how Getafe won this game, emphasising how difficult it actually was for them.
Getafe coach Pepe Bordalas went for a classical 4-4-2 system in this game. His opponent Francisco, on the other hand, chose a 5-3-2 system. So already from the initial formations, expectations are high for an interesting tactical fight.
From this image, we see that Huesca were strictly using their predetermined formation. The back five most of the time positioned themselves 20 metres behind the halfway line. The fullbacks were rather conservative. Only when the ball was on their wing, did they shift to apply pressure on the ball. The midfield three focused on the centre, while the two strikers didn’t defend very actively.
Getafe, on the other hand, were more fluid. Left-back Antunes moved high-up the pitch, while right-back Suarez stayed in the back line to have a 3vs2 advantage in the first build-up line. As a consequence of Antunes staying higher, left winger Portillo also occupied a position higher up the pitch. For that particular moment, this results in a 3-4-3 shape. However, Getafe adjusted their formation constantly.
Huesca defend disciplined
Throughout the game, Huesca defended properly. As in the previous image, we see that the back five had small distances between the players and led to a compact formation. Also, when one of the strikers fell back, the midfield three could be supported. When the ball was played between the lines, they were able to immediately be there.
At the beginning of the game, Huesca’s midfield players defended the players rather than the zones. In this image, this leads to a huge space behind the player who follows his opponent. As these gaps undermine the aim of playing as compact as possible, this wasn’t used later in this way.
Getafe’s fullbacks maintain an important role in the build-up
Due to Huesca’s system, there was constantly a lot of available space on the wings for Getafe, in particular for the fullbacks.
Here, Getafe win the ball and need some time to find good positioning. Huesca also don’t quite get into their preferred shape instantly, as two of the central midfielders are in the same area. Nonetheless, we can see how they left the wing open. Getafe could play to the right wing near the halfway line where two players are waiting for the ball. Huesca wouldn’t be able to put those players under pressure. The same applies for the left wing, but Antunes once again decides to move up the pitch.
Here, we see that Getafe were able to figure out good positioning. As the ball is in the left half space, Huesca shifted to that side. Therefore, spaces occur on the blind side.
Getafe manages to switch sides and play the ball to the right wing. However, this takes too long, as Huesca can easily shift to that particular wing and close the space that was opened. As Getafe lack the high quality of teams like Barcelona or Manchester City, they didn’t want to wait patiently and move the opponent over and over again.
To do that, the passing speed, as well as the passing precision, are simply not good enough. Therefore, situations like these were rare, which is also an accomplishment for Huesca who defended with high discipline.
Verticality was important for both teams
Because of the difficulties to exploit open spaces on the wings, Getafe decided to play fast and vertical. An important factor for them was the movement of their strikers.
Getafe’s strikers aren’t classical strikers who patiently wait in the box. Rather, they are quite flexible. In this image, we see both strikers making a run behind the back line. What stands out is that both of them are in half spaces instead of occupying the centre. If we have a closer look at Huesca’s defence, we see that the defenders are highly challenged because of this movement. All of them are looking to the ball and have difficulties keeping an eye on the strikers as well.
Additionally, the wingers also made deep runs behind the back line on some occasions. In this image, it’s all in all a 4vs4 situation. Thus, a long, vertical ball behind the back line makes sense. Even if the attackers don’t receive the ball, they can immediately press and regain possession in a dangerous area.
Interestingly, Huesca were using a similar offensive approach. Here, we can see that they create a 3vs3 situation in the final third, so once again a long, vertical pass makes sense. Getafe aren’t defending well in this situation though. While five players are in the midfield position, support in the back line is necessary.
Also, Huesca scored the first goal with such an attack, where Avila made a run behind the back line. Avila then crossed the ball to Gallego who scored the goal.
Getafe were also fluid defending and pressing
Occasionally, we could see Getafe reacting and building a back five. Here, right winger Foulquier falls back to make the back four a back five. In this situation, it makes sense as the opponent’s left back Galan stays high. Also, Getafe’s midfield line can easily compensate being reduced to three instead of four. The three players close all important spaces and passing lanes. So Getafe knew how to adapt the formation constantly both offensively and defensively.
Also, in terms of pressing, Getafe were highly fluid and adapted to the situation. In this image, we see them pressing diamond shaped and more or less man for man. So they weren’t too strict within their formation. When it doesn’t make sense to press with two strikers, then they didn’t.
Furthermore, Getafe laid a focus on pressing aggressively. Concerning that, the coverage of the press wasn’t good. But Getafe were keen to maintain a high intensity and force the opponent to make mistakes. Getafe attack the ball with three players in this situation, but the centre is totally open. If they play in the Champions League next year, Europe’s best teams will surely punish such mistakes. In this game though, it was enough to press with a high intensity.
Getafe scored the equaliser due to such a situation where they pressed with high intensity. Maksimovic wins the ball in the final third. Getafe get the ball to Jaime Mata, who then scores.
In the 77th minute, Getafe received a penalty. Jaime Mata seized the opportunity to score his second goal in the evening. This penalty, in the end, led to the win for Getafe. Huesca defended well throughout the game, but eventually, they didn’t do much offensively. Apart from the goal, there weren’t many chances for Huesca.
Getafe, on the other hand, created a few more chances, but their approach is also somehow dependent on the opponent making mistakes. They won this intense game, but need to further improve. Huesca, however, have to take more risks at some point if they don’t want to get relegated.
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