If Real Madrid think that matters can’t get any worse – they can. Getafe are the no-nonsense, ass-kicking team of the year looking to push the club into fourth
Times of mayhem usually provide the perfect environment for grinders to thrive. And that’s exactly what Getafe are doing this season.
The 2018-2019 campaign, the one which introduced VAR in our lives, where Barça stumbled a bit here and there but Real Madrid straight crashed into the ground, where Sevilla rose and then sunk, Valencia never got consistent and even Villarreal are fighting for survival.
That season, ladies and gentlemen, is the one where the Azulones have risen to the occasion.
Running up to Matchday 27, the feat achieved by Pepe Bordalás and his men (sometimes referred to as ‘Bordaninjas’ jokingly due to their no-nonsense attitude) is more than impressive.
First and most importantly, their 42 points to date means they’re clear of relegation danger. That happened even though their president, Ángel Torres, bickered and complained earlier this season that there was “a plot” to relegate “two of the teams from Madrid”. Seems Getafe won’t be one of them. Rayo Vallecano might be though.
Getafe’s success runs parallel to the way Pepe Bordalàs has forged a team with few weaknesses and undoubtedly quite a bunch of strengths, starting with that ‘Bad-Boy-esque’ style most of his players carry around.
Damian Suárez is the perfect example: nasty, sticky, tough as nails, a believer in the ‘whatever it takes’ mantra to stop the opposition. He has had brawls with almost half of the league’s players. And yet here he remains, as one of Getafe’s most despised individuals.
The Azulones have hard men amongst them: Suarez himself, center-back Daconam Djené (who is followed closely by Barça and Real Madrid), Vitorino Antunes, Leandro Cabrera, Jorge Molina.
The striker’s case is possibly the most uncanny: now 36, Molina has found the back of the net on 10 occasions. Add that to Jaime Mata’s (30) 11 goals and Angel’s (31) five strikes. A trio of veteran scorers delivering over 25 goals this season in 26 games.
Statistics don’t lie
Stats back up Bordalàs’ playing style as an effective one. They have LaLiga’s lowest possession percentage but, still, are the team which needs less passes to generate clear chances to score. Their accuracy is also on point: they’re the fifth team with the best scoring percentage in relation to the number of chances they have.
They set up a huge number of tactical traps and bottle-necks every single game, mostly in a midfield formed by three of the hardest workers in the room: veteran Mathieu Flamini (35) is flanked by youngster Mauro Arambarri (23) and Nemanja Maksimovic (24), and they focus their job on making the evening as uncomfortable as possible for any creative midfielder who dares to go deep into their zone of influence.
Being the third team in LaLiga with less goals allowed (23), it’s obvious that they press hard to make the most of their goals, having very tight scores as an outcome.
Bordalàs is a man who absolutely gives zero relevance to the haters and other managers who criticize the rough playing style of his team. He has amassed controversies over the years with coaches in Segunda and, most recently, with Marcelino (Valencia CF) and Quique Setién (Real Betis).
He doesn’t care at all.
His job is taking a bunch of not-that-special players and turning them into a winning machine, chomping down and feasting on opponents and spitting out their bones later. And, up to this point, he’s doing a damn fine job.