La Liga 2019/20: Sevilla vs Getafe – tactical analysis
In the tenth round of this season’s La Liga, Sevilla welcomed Getafe in the fixture that was painted as one of the most intriguing in this game week, as it was seen as a potential long term battle for the European spot in next year’s campaign. Julen Lopetegui’s boys have shown that they will be the ones pulling the strings of the game right from the start which helped them secure a 2-0 win and to get to three new points. The away team couldn’t find the way to overthink their opponents, so they’ll need to wait for the next chance to get to some points.
The hosts’ coach set his team in the 4-3-3 formation with their biggest strengths in the right-flank “engines” embodied in Jesus Navas and Lucas Ocampos who were playing down the right-handed sideline as the full-back and the winger respectively. The main creative force of their side was Ever Banega and Joan Jordan, who held the midfield together with Fernando, while Nolito on the left-wing and Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández were the key threats for the opposition’s goal.
José Bordalás went into the game with his usual 4-4-2 formation which was quite strict and was mostly depending on the good defensive block. Nemanja Maksimović and Mauro Arambarri were the players that were planned to be in control of the central zones, along with the help they got from Jason and Marc Cucurella who were lined up as wide midfielders. On top of their eleven was the attacking duo made by Jaime Mata and Jorge Molina, who were supposed to be in the lead of their fast transitive actions but have struggled to find ways through the opponent’s lines.
Sevilla’s wide play
The home team tried to control the game as they stepped on the pitch, so they were the side that was in possession for the majority of the time from the first minute. Although they were pass-oriented in this duel, they tended to play it very directly and attempted to break Getafe’s structure with their progressive passing.
Lopetegui wanted his men to be most dangerous down the flanks after winning the battle of the gaps between the lines. The idea of their team was to always create numerical superiority situations on the flanks by positioning Navas very high on the field, with Ocampos and midfielders supporting him after he gets the ball.
As we can see, the hosts often sent balls like the one shown in the picture in order to skip the opposition’s organised defence and to disrupt it with their run-ins. High-positioned full-backs pulled the direct guards out of position which created a free space in behind, which Banega, Ocampos and Jordan exploited.
The winger-wide defender duo created big problems for their opponents since they couldn’t find the way to close both of those players in the transitive areas of the pitch. When the right-back sat higher up the field, the wide attacker positioned himself in the inner-corridor dragging the defenders’ attention to him, especially because he got the ball frequently in these zones.
When Ocampos got the passes in the half-spaces, Navas would go with the runs down the flank, addressing the fast-forward pass to the player overlapping while commonly being guarded by the three opponents. After the wide player got the ball, he mostly finished actions with the return-balls to his attackers, or with crosses for Chicharito.
The players playing down the right-hand side where always near to each other which made it difficult for the opposition to defend them. They time and again created 2 v 1 situations which enabled their team to get to chances out of the flank-actions.
Since the two of them were the key attacking force for Sevilla, that’s from where most of their opportunities came in this match. The defenders had big issues protecting the long diagonal passes addressed to one of them and the home team’s supportive play was on a very high level which secured them as the better side in the second ball play.
Winning the half-space battle
The most important thing for Lopetegui’s men was to find the way to break through their rival’s tough defensive structure, as Getafe is known as the side that plays very disciplined in that segment of the game. Because of that, the roles of Jordan and Banega were the crucial ones for them to secure a positive result.
The two midfielders searched for the empty rooms between the opposition’s lines, exploiting every misplaced movement of the away team’s midfielders and getting better of their miscommunication with the players behind them. These motions enabled them to break Bordalás’ side’s pressing and to play it directly in a fast, forward manner.
Sevilla often used passes like the one shown in the picture to break the opponent’s structure and to “expel” the press part of the away team out of the game. When the balls passed the first two Getafe’s defensive lines, the field “broke open” for the hosts who used it for their direct transitive actions.
The setup of the home team in possessional attacks demanded their wingers cut inwards and position in the half-spaces at the edge of the box, while the wide positions were occupied by the full-backs.
Since the Madrid-based team defended in a narrow structure, the wide players had a lot of room to manoeuvre, and their cooperation with inverted wingers created big problems for the opposition’s defence. When the balls were sent to the flanks, players from the inner-corridors came closer to them in order to provide them with passing options as clear cut support.
The supportive role wasn’t the only one for the inside-positioned players as they needed to attempt in-behind runs from those areas if the opportunity opened up. The gaps for run-ins yawned consequently as the passes were sent to the flank-players of Sevilla, which called the opposition to press the player with the ball.
Ocampos and Nolito, along with Banega and Jordan, did a great job exploiting those spaces and getting into chances from their half-space positions at the edge of the box. Getafe’s goalkeeper saved his team of losing by a bigger difference as the hosts made a bunch of opportunities after sending backwards passes from these situations or attempting shots directly.
Even though Sevilla won the gap battle and controlled the flanks, they had a big advantage in their lone striker – Javier Hernández. The Mexican was as important a link-up player for his team as he was the finisher, so he provided his teammates with an extra forward pass option in the “touchy” areas of the pitch.
He often lowered himself and dropped into the room between the opposition’s defensive and midfield line so he could help his team play it faster and in a more progressive manner.
In the picture, we can see how Chicharito drops in the gap behind the opponent’s midfielders’ back and gets the ball far from the goal. Although he wasn’t that dangerous when the ball was in his feet in those positions, he enabled Sevilla to break Getafe’s lines and to shift the focus of the action on the rival’s half of the pitch. The striker had good support from the close teammates because all of the host’s players were very good in their supportive runs.
When lowering himself, Mexican also tended to position himself next to the flanks and to rotate with Nolito, whose role was to drag attention from the striker to himself and to open space for the run-ins from the wide spaces.
After the backwards-passes to the midfielder, Getafe’s defensive line was pulled high up the pitch with a lot of room behind their backs, which made it possible for Hernández to exploit it by rushing into spaces.
He had a pace advantage over the away team’s centre backs, which was more easily visible as their team tended to play it in a high press with their last line positioned very close to the half-way line. Chicharito was always at the edge of the offside, trying to use his speed against the direct guards down the central-corridor.
The Mexican striker often found himself in chances because of his great sense for space after pulling these motions, which finally resulted with him scoring the first goal in the match and opening the wounds for the visitors.
As it was shown in this analysis, Sevilla deservedly came out with a win over Getafe after they perfectly exploited issues in defensive positioning of their rivals and shut down all the ways to their own goal. Lopetegui’s tactics were the impassable obstacle for Bordalás’ men, so the hosts kept the whole loot for themselves. The visitors weren’t that bad, but have struggled to find the gaps in the opposition’s structure so they will continue sitting in the middle of the table after this match.
The home team has shown that they are close to getting in the European spot and that they could also maybe be the ones to disrupt Real Madrid’s, Barcelona’s and Atletico’s plans when it comes to title-winning ambitions this season if they carry on with performances like the one against Getafe.
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