Los Azulones will hope to continue their strong season by defeating the ailing Basques...
Pundits who touted Getafe to endure a dour relegation battle this season have been forced to think again by Michel’s side. They may have struggled in the early weeks of the campaign, but the capital club have bounced back into a comparatively strong position and will have half an eye on qualifying for the Europa League once again.
With the halfway point of the season to be reached at the weekend, el Geta have sprung 14 points clear of the drop zone and have erased any thoughts of flirtation with the Segunda Division.
Last weekend’s 0-0 draw against Osasuna may not have been especially exciting, but los Azulones were thwarted from taking maximum points by a superb performance from Ricardo in the home net.
“It was an intense match. We have played a very good game,” Michel said, pleased, after the fixture, though he did protest strongly that his side deserved maximum points. “Ricardo has made four incredible saves.”
An away draw in Pamplona is not a result to be sniffed at, and with only one loss over the course of their last seven fixtures, there can be little doubt that el Geta are a side moving firmly in the right direction.
Defensive midfielder Juan Rodriguez has been snapped up for next season, and the Deportivo La Coruna man will certainly hope that he is involved in a European campaign. That goal could come a step closer at the weekend.
Not Time To Panic
If Getafe are a side still moving forward, the same certainly cannot be said of Real Sociedad. After a run of five wins from seven games, the Basques might have been tentatively thinking about potential European qualification, but they’ve been slapped quickly back into the mid-table mix after a dire run of four successive losses.
Generally, Martin Lasarte’s men have been very strong at home this season, but back-to-back defeats against Valencia and Sevilla have seen some of their good work at Anoeta dissipate. A 5-0 loss in Barcelona began this negative sequence, the nadir of which came against Zaragoza at the beginning of 2011.
“We would all have signed up for 22 points [at this stage of the season],” striker Joseba Llorente, who struck against los Nervionenses, explained to Marca earlier this week, trying to keep the present decline of the team in perspective. “Our strength is still intact.”
Ahead of Saturday’s match, the prospects of a significant improvement don’t look great. Even at their best, la Real haven’t looked comfortable on the road, and with Getafe bubbling nicely, a fifth straight loss is a distinct possibility.
Javier Arizmendi has sprained a ligament in his left leg and will be absent until the end of February. Adrian Colunga is expected to start in attack because Miku will serve the second of a two-match ban.
Cata Diaz had to quit training prematurely earlier this week, but he will feature against the Basques. Mario remains a long-term problem after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the autumn.
Mikel Aranburu has served a one-match ban and Antoine Griezmann has overcome flu, but Carlos Martinez and Diego Ifrane are out with injury. While the former is expected back next week, the Uruguayan will be on the sidelines for a longer period due to an ankle problem.