While Barcelona continue to lead the way at the top of the table, quite the fight is developing at the bottom to avoid slipping into La Segunda
Alavés (25 points) are the ones with the best prospects
What an amazing comeback for the Mendizorroza players. Two months ago, they were absolutely destroyed, limping from game to game after yet another switch on the bench had brought in Gianni de Biasi and he wasn’t able to turn around the side’s form.
Enter ‘Pitu’ Abelardo, with buckets of discipline and order on the defensive side and a few slight touches to the line-up in front. Suddenly, Alavés won a game. And then another one. Ten games later, they’ve amassed two-thirds of the points possible and they’re not bottom of the league anymore.
In fact, the team’s huge win against Villarreal this weekend (Ely and Ibai Gómez scored) marks a five-point gap from the relegation spots. 19 points out of the last 30. Abelardo’s lofty figure is now regarded as Alaves’ miracle-man in town.
Levante’s (20 points ) awful streak continues
It’s amazing how Levante haven’t won a single game in sixteen weeks: they haven’t picked up three points since November. And yet, the rest of the pack hasn’t been able to catch up with them, something that speaks volumes about their excellent start of the season.
However, reality is indeed catching up with Juan Ramon López Muñíz’s men: yes, they’re safe for now, and they will be next week even if they lose again and Depor manages a victory…but the safety distance with the hot spots of the standings will be gone.
It’s true that Levante don’t seem like a total disaster on the pitch. There is hope for them after a huge draw against Real Madrid two weeks ago and this weekend’s ‘derbi valenciano’ against Valencia where they were totally robbed after a disgraceful referee call. They deserved at least a draw. Tough luck, as usual.
Las Palmas (18 points) snatches a point from a tough ground
Let’s face it: Las Palmas seemed dead in the water a few months ago after Pako Ayestaran’s disastrous start of season. After sacking him, Paco Jémez was welcomed as a manager with a different playing style, much more suited for talented players who struggle to work hard and be defensively proficient.
A few thrashings aside, it’s true that Las Palmas now resembles a professional team. Exuberant scores are now a thing of the past: Jemez knows that his men will need to scrap for every single point.
Deportivo’s (17 points) strange Seedorf appointment didn’t work against Betis
Depor reeks heavily of desperation and despair. After burning yet another coach on their bench, the board decided last week on appointing Clarence Seedorf as their new boss, raising quite a few eyebrows and, let’s face it, quite a lot of amusement for opposition teams.
Seedorf, a legendary midfielder but with a limited experience in management, tried applying a few of the classic tricks against Betis: organising his team, mixing it up with players that didn’t have chances with the former manager (ie. Zakaria Bakkali).
However, it wasn’t enough: a single strike by Loren Morón sent Depor straight to the mat. Seedorf now has 15 games to turn things around or Depor will plunge back into La Segunda.
Málaga (13 points) needs the impossible to happen
With Atleti as opponents, Malaga had close to zero chances this weekend. They aren’t good enough to tackle such a juggernaut. A Griezmann goal seconds from the kick-off was enough to knock the wind out of them and make their season a tad more dramatic.
13 points in 23 games are enough of a stat to send any team straight to relegation. Michel González’s stint at the bench was a total train-wreck, made worse by the board’s decision to stick with him at all costs. After sacking him a few weeks ago, things haven’t improved under
. Saving the team is nearly impossible…but their fans demand to at least try before giving up.