Pucela look to end Leganés drought
LA LIGA SANTANDER - ROUND 28
LEGANÉS v REAL VALLADOLID
ESTADIO MUNICIPAL DE BUTARQUE, LEGANÉS, SPAIN
SATURDAY 13TH JUNE 2020. KICK OFF: 18:30 (UK)
Sergio González’s side take to the field at Butarque tonight, in search of three valuable points in their first outing since LaLiga resumed play this week.
Occupying 15th place, they face a Leganés side who sit second bottom of the standings, but their opponents’ lowly league standing masks a clear danger to the blanquivioletas. Javier Aguirre’s men have not lost to Real Valladolid in their last five meetings in all competitions with los pepineros posting an impressive record of four wins and one draw during that span. In fact, you have to go back to the 2014/15 season where the sides squared off in the Segunda to find the first and last time Pucela got the better of Leganés. Having been beaten 1-0 in the first game away from home, Real Valladolid posted a 2-0 win at the José Zorrilla with a goal in each half from club icon Álvaro Rubio and Roger Martí.
In nine overall meetings, Leganés have prevailed six of those times. Real Valladolid have only that one victory from 2015 and there have been two draws. The teams also shared the points when they met in January of this year, when an Enes Ünal double cancelled out goals from the now-departed Martin Braithwaite and Roque Mesa in an entertaining 2-2 draw.
As well as having a paltry head-to-head record to contend with, Pucela would be wise to approach Leganés with caution on their own turf. Although the hosts have only won five matches to date in this campaign, four of those have come at Butarque and they have lost just one of their last five home encounters including a particularly impressive 2-1 win over Real Sociedad. Óscar Rodríguez’s sublime freekick in stoppage time hoisted Aguirre’s side to a crucial win and shocked the in-form visitors.
Furthermore, Leganés dispatched Villarreal at the Estadio de la Cerámica 2-1 in Round 27, the last match before the enforced league hiatus. Gerard Moreno had put the hosts ahead with just five minutes gone, but a second half double from dangerman Óscar Rodríguez sealed the points for los pepineros and gave them their only road win to this point.
It is arguable that the venue of tonight’s match provides Leganés with an advantage, despite the enforced lack of fans as LaLiga restarts play behind closed doors in all of its matches until the end of the season at the very least. If this is taken into account alongside Pucela’s lack of success away from the José Zorrilla, the difficulty of the task to guarantee three points is emphasised. The blanquivioletas have won just six times all season, dividing those victories equally between their home and away fixtures. However, half of the 14 matches they have travelled to have ended in defeat and a minus-11 goal difference has contributed to them collecting less than 31% of the available away points.
Real Valladolid will be keen to get their season back on track, with such a long gap between their last match – a 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Athletic Club which left a nasty taste in the mouth – and tonight’s encounter. Wins have been hard to come by and comparisons to last season have already been drawn, where the team needed to wait until the penultimate match of the season, an away trip to already-relegated Rayo Vallecano, to ensure their survival in Primera for another year.
Last season saw them lose 4-1 at home in Round 27 too, this time to Real Madrid. From then on, Sergio guided his side to four wins, three draws and four losses in the final 11 matches. It will be tough to repeat that trick, as they have beaten only two of the teams so far this season that they must face in the run-in to the conclusion of a disjointed season. Based on the table going into Round 28, the average league position of their remaining opponents is 11th, but teams like Sevilla, Atlético, Getafe and Barcelona all lie in wait.