Competition news

LA LIGA 2015/16 REVIEW

18 May 2016
Interesting season with several things decided until the last matchday. The expected three teams ended at the top Valencia CF were the biggest disappointment. RC Celta was the big improvement, while two Madrilenian clubs suffered the relegation.

No major surprises in a league in which three clubs are clearly above the rest. FC Barcelona repeated the title, but it had to wait until the last day after an unexpected dump in the final stretch of the tournament. Still, it should be considered as well deserved as the Catalans led several departments as ball possession (63%) and goals scored (112).

Real Madrid lived a notable comeback, after a period with Rafa Benitez under a hard pressure, the arrival of Zidane changed things and the Madrilenians were the best team in 2016 adding 54 points in 21 matches. They lost the liga in the last matchday, but also reached the Champions League final leaving a good impression among their fans.

Atlético Madrid also left a solid impression, as always with that touch of defensive football by Diego Simeone. Los Rojiblancos tied the mark of the Super Depor in the 1994/95 campaign only allowing 18 goals in 38 matches. Their slip in the penultimate matchday left them without options of fighting for the title. They also have the satisfaction of reaching the Champions League final.

The best of the rest was Villarreal CF. The yellow submarine was the most regular team among the “mortal” ones. As a reward they clinched the remaining spot in the Champions League, perhaps it lowered the level at the end, but it was for been focused in the Europa League.

Athletic Club still giving small steps and this time it ended fifth at the standings, they ended fourth two years ago, but the Europa League spot is not bad taking in mind the hard competition in the league. After the big three, the Basques were the team with the best goal average (+13), a lot of that had to do with Aduriz, who ended as the best Spanish scorer in the league (20)

Then the case of RC Celta, the team with the best progression within the last seasons. From been a recently promoted club fighting to survive they now are a clear candidate to fight for Europe, so they should be considered as the big improvement of the campaign. They didn’t end fifth just for losing at the Calderón in the last matchday.

Sevilla CF is the first “Dr. Jekyll” case in la liga, this for their two faces according to their condition in the games. The Andalusians were the 4th best home team in the league winning 14 of their 19 games at the Pizjuán, however the picture drastically changed when they played on the road; actually they were the only winless team in the competition playing in this condition. Frustrating for the fans, but only partial as they also reached two finals: Copa and Europa League.

Málaga CF ended in a comfortable eighth place, but the Andalusians had a tough beginning. By matchday 12 they were the last place, but a quick reaction put them in safe waters. More consistency and they could have fought for the European places.

Then two cases with an irregular path: Real Sociedad and Real Betis.  As it has been a tradition, the Basques had a poor start that put them in early troubles after losing 6 of the first 10 games, but later they reacted and lived a solid start in 2016 clinching four straight wins and, just when it seemed they were up to fight for Europe, they fell down again.

In the case of the Andalusians, they simply looked inconsistent at home (the third worst home team in the league) and later had to reconquer on the road what they dropped at the Benito Villamarín. Betis was the 9th best team on the road. They didn’t conquer big upsets, just bet the teams at the bottom at their own stadiums, which is a solid way to achieve the permanence without problems. They were also the worst offensive in the league (only 34 goals in favour)

The resurrection of the season was for UD Las Palmas, the Canarians seemed condemned to relegation as they were in deep trouble by matchday 25 they were in relegation (three points below the salvation), but the arrival of Quique Setién changed the things and, after clinching six wins in the next seven games, they were suddenly out of problems. The media applauded his offensive style, pretty similar to Rayo Vallecano.

Valencia CF was surely the biggest disappointment of the season, the fourth biggest budget in the league (€142 million) simply didn’t show any interesting thing on the field and their mediocre game is clearly represented by the fact that they had three coaches in one single season. A lot has to change if they want to compete on next season.

RCD Espanyol clinched the permanence without major problems, but it left a poor impression among their fans. They had two coaches throughout the season and never fixed the defensive problems. The Catalans were the worst defence in the league (74 goals allowed).

SD Eibar repeated the situation of the previous campaign after making a great first round (they were eighth by matchday 19) to end falling in the second, but this time there was no drama and they clinched the salvation three matchdays before the end.

RC Deportivo was the second “Dr. Jekyll” case in la liga. If Sevilla was drastically changing depending of been playing at home or on the road, in the case of the Galicians the big change was from the first to the second round. Los Blanquiazules were ninth by matchday 19 (three points away from Europe), but only won twice in the second round and only clinched the salvation until the penultimate matchday.

Once again Granada CF mixed a poor start with a strong ending to clinch the salvation at the penultimate matchday. The Andalusians lost 9 of the 13 games played between December and February, but later only lost 4 of the last 13.

Then the “miracle” of Sporting Gijón, the Asturians clinched the promotion in the previous season without making signings and this time clinched the permanence with only two reinforcements, but before they had to suffer a lot.  They spent 12 straight matchdays in the drop zone and just left the pit in the last one after a combination of results.

About the three relegated clubs, they paid the price for the bad decisions made in the transfer market and their financial problems. This time Paco Jémez was unable to save Rayo Vallecano and the three straight losses between matchdays 35 & 37 cut a five-season stage at the elite.

Bigger was the streak for Getafe CF, side that lived fifteen straight seasons at Primera until the financial problems drained the vitality of a team that only showed signs of live with the arrival of coach Esnáider for the final stretch, but it was already too late.

Finally, Levante UD went down after been the worst team in the league. They ended the first round at the last place and made interesting signings during the winter, like Rossi, but it didn’t change the path and they ended at the bottom after only winning eight games.

ARCHIVE NEWS MAY/16

ZAPPING


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