He has already appeared in as many games as he did last term, becoming an integral member of the array of gifted, versatile attacking options available to Garcia and his 4-2-3-1 system this year. Sarabia is usually partnered by Diego Castro and Pedro Leon in the trio behind the striker, either Ciprian Marica or Adrian Colunga. With Angel Lafita and club captain Jaime Gavilan also able to take their place across the attack, Garcia has been able to mould his side into a more assertive style as indicated by the fact they have totalled over 14 shots on goal in all but four of their league matches to date.
Sarabia has been a direct benefactor from the shift in Garcia’s mentality, being allowed to create more and affect attacking positions with his clever movement and ability on the ball. He has produced 16 chances, second only to Diego Castro’s 22 in the Getafe squad, and assisted 3 goals in the league as well as scoring in the surprise win at Villarreal. Garcia’s logic in moving Sarabia centrally is best indicated by his poor return at crosses with only 3 of 20 attempts hitting their target.
A degree of discipline has also been shown in Sarabia’s play as a central attacking midfielder as although he has attempted 293 passes, only 15 of them have been dangerous through balls, suggesting he prefers to keep hold of the ball in the final third and look for better options rather than losing it in an attempt to force the ball forward. However a pass success rate of just 76.8% and having been caught in possession a total of 30 times, it shows that Sarabia may need to improve his effectiveness on the ball. His ambition in going for goal, as shown by 26 shots so far, cannot be questioned, though with an accuracy of just 45% and a meagre return of a single goal, an injury time tap-in vs Villarreal, shows that his decision-making can sometimes be found wanting.
His ability to carry the ball however is a threat, attempting 15 dribbles, something which confuses defenders as he runs at them, allowing for more potent service to his team-mates and the draw of free-kicks in the final third. In total, he has been fouled 18 times so far this campaign.
Garcia’s system is based more around retaining shape when the ball is lost, becoming organised and keeping to position rigidly, so that explains the lack of defensive contribution made by Getafe’s attacking quartet. Sarabia is no exception having made just 1, making just 8 tackles in his 13 appearances and intercepting the ball just 4 times. There may be an argument that this side of the game may improve as he matures with age, though it may also be a reflection of Garcia’s defensive earnestness; Getafe have lost the possession battle in 11 of their 13 league matches. However with Sarabia, Pedro Leon and Diego Castro all pulling the strings when they have it, they have managed a steady supply of goals in response to a miserly defence.
“Sarabia is like Isco, but scores a little less. He was in Madrid’s youth system and they could have waited.”
— Angel Torres, Getafe President, quoted by Inside Spanish Football