Getafe hosted Leganés at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez in both teams’ first match since the last international break. The home side started the season quite poorly, but have since got back to their form with impressive performances. Meanwhile, Leganés’ season has been a total nightmare. Despite the encouraging statistics, they had only two points after eight matches. They were desperate to win this match. 

However, it is never easy to score against Getafe in their home ground. Leganés eventually failed to do so in this match, and Getafe once again won by making the most of their chances, which were also few and far between.

In this tactical analysis, we will delve into both sides’ tactics, and how Getafe just narrowly edged past Leganés.


Getafe lined up in a 4-4-2 with Djené Dakonam and Leandro Cabrera as the centre-back pairing. Marc Cucurella, Nemanja Maksimović, Mauro Arambarri and Jason were the midfield four, while Jorge Molina and Jaime Mata played up front.

Leganés started the match in a 5-3-2, with Jonathan Silva and Roberto Rosales playing as the wing-backs; Recio, Roque Mesa and Javi Eraso being the midfield three; and Sabin Merino and Guido Carrillo as the front two.

La Liga 2019/20: Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics
Getafe – Leganés line-up

Getafe in possession

Getafe used a 4-2-4 formation in possession. The full-backs were rather conservative in their positioning. You can also notice Leganés’ 5-3-2 formation out of possession.

La Liga 2019/20: Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics
Getafe’s 4-2-4 in attack and Leganés’ 5-3-2 in defence

The Getafe players at the back often launched long balls to either half-space. The forwards would stay close together with one higher than the other, so one could win the second ball from the other’s header. Both Mata and Molina are strong headers. The ball-near winger would be rather close, while the ball-far winger would move centrally. The two central midfielders would maintain their distance to win the second balls, or to pressure Leganés’ forward passing options when needed. All Getafe players were required to be alert to loose balls.

The below example is a typical one in a Getafe goal kick. The players would stay around where the aerial duel was occurring. There was not a lot of distance between the home side’s three lines. Therefore, should the opponent win the second balls, they could compress the space quickly and press from all sides to win the ball back. Djené has good anticipation and would often allow Leganés’ strikers no chance of getting to the loose balls.

La Liga 2019/20: Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics
Getafe forwards’ positioning in long ball situations

Here’s another example of Getafe’s positioning to win second balls. Mata was close to and a little bit lower than Molina. Molina won the header. Arambarri anticipated the situation well and get to the second ball. Cucurella, Mata and Jason weren’t far away, so they could win the second ball if the ball came their way as well. If the opponent won the second ball, at least they were all near the ball and close to each other to coordinate pressing. 

La Liga 2019/20: Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics
Getafe’s second ball scheme

After winning the second ball, they would get the ball to either wing. Their central midfielders are by no means creative players, their main duties are to win the second balls and get the ball to the wide players. The full-backs would only then start making runs from deep, got the ball from the central midfielders or wingers and tried to cross the ball. The forwards and the ball-far winger would run into the box for the cross. Getafe have simple offensive ideas.

According to Whoscored, only 22% of their attacks were from the middle. Their main crossers of the night were Raúl García (7 attempts), Allan Nyom (5), and Jason (3). Only 20% of their crosses were accurate though – they don’t seem to be effective crossers.  

Looking at Getafe’s pass map and passing links, we could notice a few things. Goalkeeper Soria would mostly pass to striker Molina (or his substitute Ángel Rodríguez). There were not a lot of passes between the players, especially the strikers. The top passing links were generally between the defenders. These players would pass around so that one of them would have enough space to play long balls forward. The top five Getafe players with the most long balls were, unsurprisingly, keeper Soria and the back four.

La Liga 2019/20: Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics
Getafe’s pass map and top passing links

Bearing in mind Getafe had four players high forward to win second balls, Leganés’ back five was a good tactic to counter this. As mentioned in this tactical analysis, the away team used a 5-3-2 similar to their starting lineup when out of possession.

As you may know by now, the home side’s central midfielders would quickly get to the ball out wide. Because of Getafe wingers’ high positioning, Leganés aimed to isolate them. When a Getafe full-back received the ball, the nearby Leganés central midfielder would quickly move to stop him from passing to his nearby winger. The two other Leganés midfielders would shift to take care of Getafe’s double pivot. This tactic did well to stop Getafe from progressing forward easily. It must be said that Getafe’s ball circulation was slow.

La Liga 2019/20: Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics
Leganés’ use of the three central midfielders in defending

Leganés in possession

Leganés used a 3-1-4-2 structure in possession. In the build-up, Recio would stay deep to help with the build-up, creating a numerical advantage at the back. Often times, Getafe would compensate this by getting one of their midfielders to step out, creating a three-man first line of pressing.

Getafe used a 4-4-2 in defending. As Leganés only used two wide players (their wing-backs), Bordálas’ side’s two banks of four stayed horizontally compact and narrow. The front two would try to stay in the areas between Leganés’ back three. Getafe would only press intensely from their second line of pressing. 

La Liga 2019/20: Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics
Getafe’s 4-4-2 out of possession and Leganés’ 3-1-4-2 in possession

Each Getafe midfielder in the 4-4-2 shape was responsible for a small area. When the Getafe ball-carrier was wide, the winger would step out to press. When he received the ball in a central area, it would be the nearby central midfielder who closed him down. The Getafe players would anticipate the situation and started running at the ball receiver right before he even got the ball, thus giving him less time to turn and scan the field.

It was also necessary that, when a Getafe winger stepped out of his line, the nearby full-back would move higher to cover him, and attack Leganés’ nearby wing-back should he receive the ball.

In the below example, Recio stayed deep to help with Leganés’ build-up. When he got the ball on their right-wing, Cucurella rushed to close him down. 

La Liga 2019/20: Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics
Cucurella closed down Recio on the wing

Recio then moved central, received the ball and was instantly pressured by Maksimović. 

La Liga 2019/20: Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics
Maksimović stepped out to press Recio

A key aspect in Getafe’s defensive scheme was the use of cover shadow. When a midfielder came out to press, he must also cut off the ball-carrier’s central passing lane to a player behind him. Here Maksimović came out to press Recio while covering the latter’s passing lane towards Eraso. Recio passed back to Bustinza. Maksimović instantly moved to cut off the centre-back’s passing lane to Eraso. Getafe midfielders’ smart positioning made it difficult for Leganés to progress forward, and they would often look to do so by long balls.

La Liga 2019/20: Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics
Getafe players’ smart use of cover shadow

Sometimes, Getafe committed too many men forward to press. That would lead to dangerous chances for Leganés. In the below example, the whole Getafe midfield moved high to suffocate Leganés players. However, Arambarri’s positioning here was too high to cover Recio’s passing lane to Mesa.

Recio’s smart line-breaking pass took out the whole Getafe midfield, Mesa drove the ball forward with ease and hit the post from the following long shot. It was risky when the double pivot all pressed up high, as no one could pick up the opponent between the lines. The centre-backs were already occupied by the two forwards.

La Liga 2019/20: Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics
Getafe pressed too high up the pitch

When Leganés tried to progress through either flank, Getafe would compress that side and stay horizontally and vertically compact. Notice the positioning of their two banks of four below.

La Liga 2019/20: Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics
Getafe’s compact two banks of four

Leganés definitely lacked ideas going forward. They tried hopelessly to attack through the wings, but moved the ball to slowly and most of the time would turn over possession to Getafe.

Second half

In the second half, Bordalás showed his desire to win by substituting Molina and García for Ángel and Kenedy, who is a better crosser than the man he replaced. It was Kenedy’s perfect cross from deep that helped Ángel score the opening goal from the resulting header. Ángel would seal the 2-0 scoreline with a goal from a quick counter. Recio failed to put him offside, and he got past the keeper easily and scored.

La Liga 2019/20 Getafe vs Leganes - tactical analysis tactics 1
Poor mistake by Recio helped Ángel to score his second goal


In the end, our analysis showed Getafe did just enough to win this match. It was another good defensive performance from them but was by no means a convincing offensive one. The same could be said about Leganés. They created a few half-chances from long shots in the first half but was harmless in the second.

For Getafe, three wins in the last five shows that they are now back on track. Despite being average in attack, their solid defence can provide the base for success. They are a big contender for a European spot this season.

For Leganés, they have lost their last three matches and are at the bottom of the La Liga table. It has to be said though, they have been terribly unlucky so far. They could have been in a European spot position by now. They just need to insist on their current brand of football and wait for the results to come.

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