The last time I attended a Sevilla vs Getafe match I left the ground with a sinking feeling that I had just witnessed a team on the decline. December 2009, in a frigid Sanchez Pizjuan, I watched on in horror as up and coming Madrid reject and Getafe star-man Robert Soldado capitalised on a couple of gifts to slot home two first half goals, thus condemning the mighty Sevilla to a demoralising defeat. Not even a second half rally, and a scrappy Alvaro Negredo consolation goal, could put any sort of shine on this one.
That cold night the team looked a shadow of their former selves, but as it turned out, we ended up putting a decent run together and finished the league season in 4th place (just) and won the Copa del Rey in the Camp Nou. The poor performance on that specific night was however the beginning of a bad dip in form that we thankfully overcame just in time. This season has in many ways also failed to live up to pre-season expectations, but conversely has given us many reasons for confidence that it can still end up like it did, or even better than in 09/10.
It would be foolish however to get too carried away with the events of Saturday night. Getafe are, on this evidence, a team in turmoil. Despite coming into the game on the back of a decent run of form (a point away to high flying Celta de Vigo and a couple of home wins against Las Palmas and Levante) they looked like a side that are destined for the drop. No cutting edge whatsoever, and no midfield presence which left their defence scrambling around in vain, which culminated in them conceding three stone wall penalties (should have been 4). Whether we can attribute their toothless attack to the presence of a rejuvenated Adil Rami only time will tell, but in the end this was nothing more than a glorified training exercise. Not that one is complaining, of course.
Tactically, Emery rested Coke and opted for Mariano on the right as a wing-back (ala Tremo on the left) and this allowed our more right sided attacking midfielder, Vitolo, more freedom to roam inside and influence the game. Konoplyanka also had a rare La Liga start, and lived up to the hype from Manchester with an impressive performance on the left side of midfield. Tremo, like Mariano, offering width that allowed Kono more freedom to drift inside.
We also insisted on playing it around very deep at the back in order to draw out their forwards and create space to counter. Getafe fell for this ploy on many occasions, their forwards too eager to close down Rico, Rami, and Kolo, who quickly played their way around them to launch attack after attack. I worry that a better team will suss this ploy out soon and just sit deep and invite us on to them. Getafe learned their lesson eventually, but by this time they were down to 10 men and holding on for the final whistle (picture below of their tactical set up near the end).
Sadly, Immobile was nowhere to be seen, and one wouldn’t be surprised if he never wears a Sevilla shirt again (more on him in a different article perhaps). Despite our midweek exertions we dominated the opening proceedings, and it felt like it was only a matter of time before we took control of the score line. Midway through the half, Ever Banega, who looks like his enforced rest did him the world of good, let fly with a wicked bending shot that their keeper could only parry, Gameiro being the most alert player in the box to steer the ball home. 1-0! There was no “luck” about his finish, he simply anticipated the keeper spilling it and he made a fool of the Getafe defenders who could only watch on as he guided the loose ball home.
Just before half time Banega again turned provider with a cleverly worked free kick that completely caught everyone by surprise, except of course the ever alert Gameiro, who skilfully controlled the ball (and no doubt his laughter at the free space he had found himself in), to blast home into the roof of the Getafe net. 2-0! Easy!
The second half was more of the same one way traffic. Getafe’s players looked like they just wanted to go home, and Carlos Vigary in particular seemed a bit over eager to get to the showers first (Perhaps he needed extra time to fix his hair) with two stupid challenges in the box which resulted in Banega 3-0 and then Gameiro (hat-trick) 4-0 racking up the goal difference. Konoplyanka (who looked to have pulled a muscle after an epic 85th minute sprint down the whole length of the pitch) slotted home our 5th from the spot to emphasise our dominance even more. 5-0 going on 8-0! Mariano with the honorable mention for the “assist” in that one.
From my seat it appeared that the referee ignored the expected added time (30 seconds per substitute) and blew his whistle dead on the 90 minute mark! Perhaps, like a boxing referee that felt pity for the bloodied loser, he couldn’t stand it anymore. Make no mistake, Getafe got away with this one lightly, and we could easily have added at least another goal or two had our finishing been a bit sharper.
So, in the end perhaps one of the most one sided games in La Liga I have ever witnessed (apart from some Real Madrid and Barcelona games), but one which was much needed before the even bigger tests that are to follow. As in 2009, I left the stadium with that feeling I just witnessed a team on the decline, and thankfully this time it was not Sevilla. Time will tell whether we can emulate or better the season of 09/10. On the past few showings however (10 La Liga points from 12) I am feeling optimistic again, and why the heck not?
Thanks for reading!
Full time: Sevilla 5 Getafe 0
P.S: Apologies for the belated report. Saturday night got a bit wild (not every day we win 5-0), Sunday was not surprisingly a bit of a blur, and Monday was, well Monday, but even busier day as I started a new job.