Spicy Statistics, La Liga Round 13

La Liga shows us that only three teams are able to compete for the top of the leaderboard – Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid are separated by only 6 points. So far there are no surprises. Luckily, there is a part of the league table that is still entertaining: the battle for relegation. In the latest positions of the ranking there are 9 teams that are also separated by 6 points!

The word on the street is that La Liga is boring. So, on round thirteen, we take the time to elaborate on the teams that are between the sword and the precipice towards relegation.

(Click the scores to view the highlights!)

Osasuna 0 – Almeria 1: Osasuna are the only ones of all the La Liga teams that have taken away two points from Barcelona. However, the home team must also face it’s own shadow. They should try to maintain a spirit that reflects their level regardless of the opponent. This cannot be capitalised by individual players but must be met through teamwork. Osasuna miss out on opportunities when playing the smaller teams of La Liga. Though it was a surprise from the visiting team that, with a huge effort, they got their third win of the season. Coach Francisco Rodriguez is optimistic and, above all, realistic: “Winning three games is not going to save us”.

Granada 3 – Malaga 1: A hat trick by Youssef El Arabi, the Moroccan forward that has now scored 5 of the 6 goals that the home team have scored in their stadium. Granada highlighted a defensive effort and are now above the group of teams fighting to avoid relegation. Coach Lucas Alcaraz said after the game: “We have to enjoy the moment.” Malaga are within the group of 9 teams that are fighting to avoid the relegation zone. There is a sign however that the balance between their attack and defene is not consistent: thirteen matches played and only thirteen points.

Real Madrid 5 – Real Sociedad 1: the Xabi Alonso effect is clear. When he plays, the home team flies. After he was replaced Real Sociedad got closer in the game though had previously revealed the tactic that every team must apply when playing Real Madrid: cover and press Xabi Alonso. The top scorer or “Pichichi” of La Liga, Cristiano Ronaldo, scored his third hat trick of the season. With both Messi and Diego Costa picking up injuries you wonder whether there’ll be any looking back for Ronaldo now in the race for the Pichichi Trophy. Just for the moment, Real Sociedad are above the group of teams that can fighting to avoid relegation.

Getafe 1 – Elche 1: Pedro Leon (formerly of Real Madrid) remains the key player of the modest but bold Getafe. His past with the white team did not awake enthusiasm: “I hope that you will see me only as Getafe player”. His goal only helped to rescue one point against Elche – another team fighting to leave the group of 9 teams around the relegation zone.

Athletic Bilbao 2 – Levante 1: it’s not the first time that Ernesto Valverde’s team has come back after substitutions have brought in fresh energy during the second half – in round 6 the team achieved a similar victory with the same exact score against Real Betis. The coach also counts with the mystique of the new stadium, San Mames – where the team remains undefeated. Levante could not maintain consistency in a very broad football field but, despite losing the three points in the last few minutes of the game, they are still clear of the bottom half.

Celta de Vigo 0 – Rallo Vallecano 2: the worst visiting team from La Liga 2012-2013 is shaping up as the worst home team during this season – Vigo are the only team in La Liga 2013-2014 that has failed to win a game in their home ground. Rayo Vallecano are one of the two teams that have lost the most games in the La Liga and are looking for the consistency that can take them away from the relegation zone.

Espanyol 1 – Seville 3: Finally Sevilla begin to find a steady course! Coach Unai Emery spent twelve rounds receiving a lot of criticism, barely one or two words of praise and some suggestions from within. Among the most important suggestions, Ivan Rakitic – the leader of the team, asked the coach to play just behind the strikers and this worked. Before a problem, the speed with which a coach accepts change seems to be crucial. Will Sevilla continue in the correct direction playing in the next round with the big derby against Real Betis? Espanyol coach, Javier Aguirre, did not consider the cunning of Seville. After another defeat, his team is “on the ropes and can’t stumble again”.

Valencia 2 – Valladolid 2: Valencia show flashes of football through their source of young players but lack confidence in La Liga. After the game, Miroslav Djukic, Valencia’s coach said: “If you have no balls you cannot play or train in Mestalla Stadium”. Was he referring to Ever Banega – who missed a penalty when the game was tied with no goals and was then substituted early in the second half? Meanwhile, Juan Ignacio Martinez, Valladolid’s coach, lamented that his team has to score 3 goals to win a game and so find themselves near the relegation zone.

Villarreal 1 – Atletico Madrid 1: as in every round of La Liga, Villarreal fought until the last minute of the game to get the best result possible. After a game with two own goals, Diego Simeone made another wise comment and, this time, it was also funny: “we lacked creativity”.

Real Betis 1 – Barcelona 4: no surprises here! The home team is a mystery both in La Liga and in the Europe League. In addition, Real Betis found an inspired Carlos Valdes. If there was every anything negative to say about Barcelona’s play the goalkeeper was mentioned. However, he significantly improved at the right time – when having to renew his contract and when injuries harassed key players like Cesc Fabregas and Lionel Messi. A sign of forcefulness: Barcelona are winning despite not being at their best. But with Messi picking up a new injury, one which could keep him out for 2 months, teams may have a little extra confidence coming up against them.

The statistics of the most humble teams in La Liga are spicy. Another flavour added to the Spanish football league. Time for the European Championship playoffs next week and time to rest before week 14!

About Nico Argentato

Spanish and English teacher, Sports Psychology student and music enthusiast. An innate passion for movement and rhythm prompted my early development in the sports world; participating in most sports that involve a ball. Now, I am also looking for the words that can best describe that vital energy: the music in football and world sports.

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