Osasuna’s promising start has come despite a lack of goals, so the Blancos will fancy their chances of registering a clean sheet in this one.
Back both teams to score at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez on Saturday. (-105)
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Real Madrid’s 100 percent start to the season came to an end last time out. A 1-1 draw with Osasuna, a team that exceeded expectations at the start of 2022/23, marked the first blot on the copybook of Carlo Ancelotti’s side, who had won each of their previous six encounters.
A return of 19 points from a possible 21 is close to perfect, so Madrid will not be feeling too down after that rare slip-up. However, it is notable that one draw was all it took to knock them off the top spot, now occupied by Barcelona on goal difference.
The first couple of months of the new campaign have told us little that we did not already know about Madrid.
The biggest learning, perhaps, concerns their arch-rivals. Some felt it would take a while for this new-look Barcelona to gel, handing Madrid an advantage in the La Liga title race. However, Xavi Hernandez’s side have hit the ground running and their recent form suggests they are ready to compete for domestic honors immediately.
Ancelotti will not panic.
Yet for all his undoubted qualities as a manager, the Italian’s record in league campaigns may concern Madrid fans now that Barcelona look capable of posing a stern challenge.
Ancelotti has won four Champions Leagues, more than any other coach in history.
Yet while he has rightly been praised for winning each of Europe’s five major leagues – the Premier League, the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1 – he has never lifted any of those titles more than once. Ancelotti, it is fair to say, is better suited to knockout soccer, and it is already clear that Madrid will not stroll to this season’s championship like they were able to do the last term.
Getafe have had an eventful start to the season, as they seek to secure another year of Liga soccer.
Having looked destined for the drop midway through 2021/22, the club from the capital rallied in the second half of the season to finish 15th. The objective this time around is to steer clear of relegation trouble entirely, but that will only happen if Getafe stop conceding so many goals.
Their backline has been breached on 15 occasions so far; Elche are the only team in Spain’s top tier with a worse record. Dig a little deeper, though, and it becomes clear that Getafe have been very unfortunate.
In the La Liga ranking of expected goals against (a statistic that measures the quality of chances a team concedes), Getafe sit a respectable 11th.
Remarkably, they have conceded about twice as many goals as one would expect from the quality of opportunities they have given up.
Quique Sanchez Flores will no doubt be aware of those numbers. His team were reasonably solid last season, at least compared to those around them in the table.
Keeping Real Madrid’s star-studded attack quiet on Saturday will not be easy, and Getafe could concede a few more goals here. Overall, though, there is not as much to fear defensively as that headline figure would have you believe.
The games are now coming thick and fast for clubs like Madrid, who are used to balancing La Liga with the Champions League but perhaps not to this extent.
The scheduling of the 2022 World Cup in the northern hemisphere winter has led to more games than usual being squeezed into the period up to the middle of November, and it would not be a surprise to see Madrid get off to a sluggish start on Saturday.
Getafe will hope to take advantage of their illustrious opponents are not at their best, and there is reason to believe they will at least be able to find the back of the net against the defending champions.
Sanchez Flores’ team have scored two goals in each of their last three matches, while they were one of only four Spanish sides to beat Madrid last term, winning 1-0 at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez in early January.
The Blancos will probably have too much quality for Getafe this weekend, even if Ancelotti opts to rotate his team for a match that is sandwiched between two Champions League fixtures.
But from a betting perspective, there is not much value in backing the favorites to come out on top. Instead, go for both teams to score in this one.
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|Teams||Getafe vs Real Madrid|
|Location||Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Madrid, Spain|
|Time||Saturday, 8 October 2022, 15.00 PM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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