Getafe came into this La Liga fixture off the back of playing Ajax in the Europa League, winning 2-0 at home in a fixture not many saw them leaving with a positive result. Domestically, Getafe suffered a 2-1 loss to Barcelona which came amid a great run of form. Getafe had seen four wins in five games so they were looking to revive their winning ways in the league going into this game.
Sevilla has seen a mixed bag of results lately as the club seems to be in a bit of a transition period under manager Julen Lopetegui. Their form has fluctuated constantly although they sat fifth in the table going into this game just two points off today’s opponents. Drawing with CFR Cluj in the Europa League on Thursday and drawing against Espanyol 2-2 in the League last week. Sevilla looked to leapfrog Getafe today with a win and put pressure on a struggling Atletico Madrid. This tactical analysis will demonstrate the tactics utilised by both teams and how each of their approaches developed towards the full-time result.
Getafe entered the game with their ever-present 4-4-2, a formation that has seen much success considering their position in La Liga and their performances in Europe also. Their top scorer Ángel Rodríguez started on the bench as well as their second sharpshooter Jaime Mata. Both of them played in the game midweek against Ajax so it could be suggested that maybe their legs needed some rest. That decision meant the goal score responsibility was down to Deyverson and Jorge Molina.
Sevilla lined up for this fixture with a 3-4-3 allowing the likes of Jesús Navas and Sergio Reguilón to aid the counter-attack with a minimized role defensively with the inclusion of three center-backs. Lucas Ocampos and new addition Suso were deployed on the left and right wings respectively with the strong figure of Luuk De Jong leading the line.
Getafe’s High Press & High Line
From the outset, it was evident that José Bordalás tactics were set up to push high up the field and pile the pressure onto Sevilla up the pitch. The wingers especially (Marc Cucurella and Nyom) were often found sprinting towards the occupant of the ball to win the ball high up the pitch.
The intensity was also shown in the stat sheet as in that first half, Getafe had a total of 0.31 recoveries per minute as compared to the 0.24 that Sevilla had mustered. Under further analysis, you can see that Getafe’s approach was largely set up on pressing intensity with a huge (9.1PPDA). The image above shows this during the game; Cucurella positioned in the left-wing position was often the selfless runner in initiating the press charging down the corresponding full back and sometimes even the centre-back.
In addition to the team pressing high up the pitch meant that the defensive line was very close if not ahead of the half-way line. The image below demonstrates the average positions of each team. Notice that Getafe’s players except Djené (2) being in an advanced position on the pitch. Meaning Getafe were susceptible to counter attacks and opportunities for Sevilla’s wide players to get in behind.
Sevilla’s ability to play out of the press
The intention to win the ball high up the pitch is a strong ethos to have in practice. However, if the opposition has the ability to play around the press to relative success then it creates a problem. Sevilla on many occasions was able to do that. With an average of 72% pass accuracy for the game and a slightly higher 75% (as seen in the graph above) in the first half shows that to a certain degree Sevilla found some success playing around Getafe and leaving their plan A a little dysfunctional which ultimately led to a lot of chasing the ball and in turn when possession was held by Getafe, it was often half chances created with no real threat as seen in their poor expected goals turn out (0.57) and in the first half specifically (0.20).
Sevilla carried out an impressive xG of 2.58 and use their three-man defence and deep position on the pitch to construct counter attacks at the right time and convert them into goals.
Sevilla’s passing ultimately led to tired legs in the Getafe team. the high intensity shown in the early stages of the first half by Getafe dwindled as the game went on. Their ball possession in the first 15 minutes had near equal retention as seen in the possession graph below but as the half continued especially from the 31st minute onwards the lack of energy and closing down meant Sevilla were able to hold onto the ball for longer and dictate play better.
Sevilla’s use of the ball specifically in forwards passes (61% completion rate), back (89%) and lateral passes (80%) were attempted more than Getafe’s and except back passes the degree of accuracy was also better. It can be said that the fact Sevilla attempted more passes than Getafe the amount of those that were successful is more likely to decrease. An integral part of keeping possession and being available in pockets was Joan Jordan who would sit a lot deeper in midfield to receive the ball and either advance the ball up the pitch or send it backward to retain possession. He led the team in passes with 48 and had a 79% pass (38) completion as well as a successful cross, a 61% forward pass accuracy, 100% back and lateral pass accuracy and 83% short and medium-range passing. Illustrating the task of being the metronome and retaining the ball.
Lucas Ocampos is Sevilla’s main man
Amongst the ups and downs within the season, Sevilla’s one consistent point has been their number five Lucas Ocampos. This game highlighted his importance to the team, he finished with a goal, 81% pass accuracy, and three successful dribbles. As a wide player, the responsibility fell on him to provide an outlet for Sevilla to get at Getafe’s defence either through getting in behind or on the counter-attack.
Looking below, you can see that Ocampos likes to drift centrally and pick up a dangerous position where he can affect the game. The position he takes for his and the team’s first goals is usually where the centre-forward should be occupying. Throughout the game, he was taking up central positions to be direct and attack the backline.
Getafe are their own enemy
This game, in particular, was lost by Getafe’s wastefulness and lack of creativity. Questions can be made at the absence of their two main goal threats in the starting 11. The high press as aforementioned wasn’t effective and the demand to keep possession where possible led to the slip by Etebo in a dangerous area for Reguilón to slide the pass for Ocampos to tap in.
The image below highlights the glaring problem they were facing in this game, which was the break down of constructed opportunities and attacking threats. Getafe had a large volume of passes in the final third (60), crosses (20) and passes to the box (27) yet all three categories showed very low signs of accuracy at 60%, 35%, and 41% respectively.
Using a 4-4-2 formation often limits the amount of creativity in midfield, as teams often operate with a three-man midfield. the combination of Etebo and Maksimović was used to deploy two work-horse like midfielders with huge engines and the capability to break up the play. Whereas the industrial and creative side of the team is sacrificed because of it. Etebo only managed to complete four of his ten attempted forward passes and completed none of the passes he attempted into the final third. His midfield partner Maksimović also failed both of his attempted passes into the final third and within 94 minutes of play did not attempt a single progressive pass. Making Sevilla’s gameplan a lot simpler by not having to close down the midfield and not giving them time as they weren’t creating serious attacks throughout the tie.
A lack of discipline also hindered the progression of creating attacks for Getafe as the team saw a total of seven given out. Meaning breaks in play often kill momentum and any build-up towards real chance creation.
As poorly as Getafe performed in this fixture, I feel that the 3-0 scoreline is a bit flattering to Sevilla as they weren’t that great themselves. Although the most important factor is the result and the three points.
Lopetegui must be disappointed which the all-round performance as Sevilla too wasn’t producing great football. The 75% possession is an indictment of this. The first goal was produced from a Getafe slip, the second goal was poor defending from a set-piece and the third the best chance of the game really, the keeper probably should’ve done better. Not as convincing as a 3-0 score suggests. Defensively there is a lot to take away as it was a solid performance and the toothless attack of Getafe can be down to the lockdown performance by Gudelj and Diego Carlos in particular.