February is here. Football is now on the most frightening month for the teams that are still alive in several competitions. What it seemed as a gift turns now into a torture in the way that rosters get worn out. In fact, advancing in the Spanish Cup this season with a more exciting format also brings along some negative consequences in LaLiga.
The dosage in the participation of the players was already a key aspect to manage for any club. It is true that the rotation is less for those who have big lacks, but those who have more ambitious goals and are in Europe, know well how to handle this area and so count on an advantage.
However, it is usually not easy due to the accumulation of injuries and, despite introducing some variables from one game to another, the outcome is still negative. This is something that really increases in those teams that are not used to experience these kind of situations.
We have really enjoyed of an unusual intensity and equality in this Cup edition after a notable dominance by FC Barcelona in the last decade. A discredited trophy that has has turned into a golden opportunity for any one, regardless of the reason.
The four teams involved in the semifinals know that it will be difficult for all them to be as much likely as now to lift a trophy. And that illusion is above anything else. This is why Betis, Rayo Vallecano and Valencia (Athletic have not played yet) have proved in this fixture the huge physical and psychological wear that the Spanish Cup quarter finals provided them with. All these three teams, despite the rotation, are still with what they pulled off last week on their minds and what it is about to come up on Wednesday and Thursday.
However, even the logical invites to believe that this is common, to lose the orientation of an entire season for focusing too much on a single competition is very dangerous. An ‘all-in’ is always too risky. In fact, only two entities can afford that: Rayo Vallecano, due to the fact that they have almost sealed their stay; and Valencia. The team of Bordalás have been unable to join a pretty cheap battle for Europe and so the Spanish Cup is their only chance to save the season.
On the other hand, Betis and Athletic should be careful. At Heliópolis they have done an extraordinary job establish themselves among the top four of the table and, knowing that their meet against Zenit is right around the corner, it is not the best moment to waste the advantage over their pursuers. The challenge is getting tougher as weeks pass by and the inexperience becomes the factor that decant the final score.
Athletic have an important and beautiful challenge in the Cup, their Championship; but, from my point of view, Marcelino has built a block with enough arguments to battle for Europe. For this reason, it would be an improper mistake from this coach to put LaLiga aside and dispense with his characterized ambition.
The Cup has really impacted its participants and left a huge hangover in the league.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: Twitter @RealSociedad.
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