Pucela aim to overturn poor record at El Sadar
Estadio El Sadar, Pamplona, Spain
Saturday March 13th, 2021
OSASUNA (14th, 28 pts) vs REAL VALLADOLID (16th, 25pts)
Real Valladolid travel to Pamplona, within touching distance of their opponents Osasuna in the league. Pucela lie three points behind the Jagoba Arrasate’s side, and a win at El Sadar, a venue where they have only won twice in their last 18 attempts would actually propel them past the men from Navarre by way of goal difference.
It will not be an easy task, as Sergio’s men have won just once in nine league outings, and they are on the wrong end of a very unbalanced head-to-head record. The Pamplona side hold a 32-18 advantage prior to this encounter, with 23 matches drawn.
Furthermore, the Blanquivioletas have had a torrid time in visits to El Sadar, having only ever won there twice. One needs to look back to Matchday 10 of the 2012/13 season to find the last time they left Pamplona with maximum points. On November 4th, 2012, Patrick Ebert’s second goal of the season, just seven minutes from time, gave Pucela a 1-0 win. Prior to that, Pucela had not emerged victorious at El Sadár since February of 1989. In all matches played at this side, Osasuna hold the upper-hand with 23 wins from 36 attempts, while Real Valladolid have those two victories to show for their efforts. It gives the club a sorry-looking 5.6% win percentage and a minus 42 goal difference in the stadium which recently underwent a massive refurbishment, adding increased cover on the roof and expanding the capacity to 23,000 spectators. Home advantage played a massive role during Osasuna’s successful promotion campaign of 2018/19 when they went undefeated in front of their own fans, winning 19 of 21 matches and drawing twice. They conceded only seven goals at home that campaign.
Their impressive record on home soil continued in their return to Primera. They drew their opening three matches at El Sadar in the 2019/20 season, including holding Barcelona to a 2-2 draw, then beating Villarreal, Valencia and Deportivo Alavés before finally succumbing to Athletic Club in their seventh home fixture. They were to lose only four more times before the season ended.
Perhaps not having supporters in attendance has taken some of the magic away, as they have already been beaten six time at home in 2020/21, including their last two in a row but these were to high-calibre sides in the shape of Sevilla and Barcelona. The previous meeting between the sides in Pamplona saw a goalless draw played out in Matchday 20 of last season, in January 2020. This was after a 1-1 draw in Valladolid where Osasuna came from a goal down to snatch a late point. Pablo Hervías gave Pucela the lead with a long-range freekick, but Robert Ibáñez came on as a substitute for Rubén García and scored with nine minutes to play.
This season overall has seen Osasuna labour to seven wins, of which four have come at El Sadar. Consistency has been a problem, having posted consecutive wins on one occasion, on Matchdays 22 at Eibar and 23versus Levante, but their form has picked up recently and they have a three win, two loss record in their last five matches.
Ante Budimir is the top-scorer for Los Rojillos this season, netting six so far. The Croatian, who piqued Real Valladolid’s interest in the summer transfer window, scored the last time these sides met, netting his second goal of the campaign. He then endured a goalless spell of seven matches before firmly announcing his return with a brace against Granada in Matchday 20 and adding another in each of the following two against Levante and Eibar. Jonathan Calleri – on loan from Uruguay’s Deportivo Maldonado – has also netted four and is one of their more underrated frontmen in comparison to Budimir and the injured Chimi Ávlila, and last scored against Eibar in their 2-1 win. Ten players have found the net for Osasuna in the season to date. Their list of absences for this match would have rivalled Real Valladolid’s earier this year. They will be without Ávila, Facundo Roncaglia, Oier, Roberto Torres, Rubén Martínez, Iñigo Pérez and Unai García.
Real Valladolid will be boosted by two good performances of late, where they were unlucky to draw against Celta – conceding a 94th minute equaliser – and then beat Getafe at home last week. The 2-1 win was their first in the league since January 2nd, which was against the same opponent. Óscar Plano opened the scoring for his third of the season and will likely retain the captaincy with both Míchel and Jordi Masip playing bench roles. Shon Weissman leads the way with four goals, the last of which came against Getafe last week. He began the season slowly, but his brace against Osasuna was the difference the last time these sides met in December. The Israeli’s double and Fabián Orellana’s penalty helped them to a 3-2 win in Matchday 13 at the José Zorrilla. Wins have been hard to come by though, with only three at home (Athletic Club, Osasuna and Getafe) and two on the road (Granada and Getafe). Real Valladolid have scored two goals more than today’s opponents – of which five have been from penalties – but it is in defence that the mains question marks lie. They have kept only two clean sheets to date, but both of those have come away from the José Zorrilla (Cádiz and Getafe). Still absent for Pucela are Kiko Olivas, Marcos André, Pablo Hervías and Raúl Carnero. Marcos André’s continued recovery from injury means it is likely Real Valladolid will pair Sergi Guardiola with Weissman in a 4-4-2 formation despite the former Córdoba and Getafe man finding the net just once this season, a penalty against Celta in the third match of the campaign. Sergio is not expected to stray too far from the side who won last week.