With our series of season reviews we begin by looking back at the Spanish La Liga season. We discuss a number of talking points from the completed season
The Spanish La Liga has for another season engulfed millions of fans alike around the world. Many consider La Liga to be neck and neck with the English Premiership for rights as the best league in the world. This season has been one that has been interesting to say the least.
The Race for the Title
This year’s La Liga race had the big three all seen as favorites, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Atletico we always in the mix of things from the beginning, their pragmatic attitude towards winning was vital as they grinded some results.
Barcelona off the previous campaigns win was determined to reclaim the title. For majority of the campaign they were in control. What happened in April following the defeat to Real Madrid begun one of the greatest dip in forms in recent times, they looked like they would give up on the title before managing to steady the ship and secure it on the final day.
Real Madrid did not begin their season on the front foot. The appointment of Rafa Benitez was not fully accepted by fans and some players alike. The famous BBC trio had troubles kicking into gear and this was most notable in the dip in form of Cristiano Ronaldo. Injuries to Luka Modric destabilized the midfield that was costly.
The second half of the season and the appointment of Zidane brought about vigor and an unlikely assault on the league. Finishing one point behind Barcelona will give them hope for the next season.
Atletico Madrid has become a major European club over the years and they are still major players in La Liga. The Madrid outfit has continued on their consistency and has been one of if no the most consistent team this season.
This has largely been result to their defensive heroics that saw them have the best defense in the league. Coupled with this they have become lethal on the counter attack and this has been a strategy that few managed to break down. Their third place finish was a direct result of their shock loss to Levante.
Mid Table reshuffle
The battle in the middle of the table was interesting this season. Clubs such as Villarreal, Real Betis and Las Palmas exceeded expectation and managed to produce results. Villarreal have had a dream campaign in which they have managed to secure Champions league qualification.
Celta Vigo have continued to when they left off last season and managed to secure 6th place and a spot in the Europa League, much to the delight of the fans.
Rayo, Getafe and Levante will look aback at this season as one to forget. All three clubs have overwhelmingly underperformed this season. Paco Jemez was faced with a huge task of keeping Rayo afloat this season, however the results never came. They will be given effort for trying and will look to bounce back.
Getafe has been in the top flight for 12 years and have managed to earn a reputation as being a respectable mid table club. This season the cracks begun to show and the dismissal of manager Fran Escriba made the task of survival even more complicated.
Levante’s demotion is a classic example of structural and managerial fault to say the least. They failed to invest adequately in both transfer seasons and the manager got things wrong more often than wrong.
Putting emphasis in bringing attacking reinforcements such as Giuseppe Rossi backfired as they neglected their defense. The coach was also highly at fault for various tactical failings throughout the season, relegation could serve some good for them.
Most Improved Club
This is a tough category to decide however the accolade will have to be shared between Real Betis and Las Palmas. The latter only having been promoted managed a respectable 11th place finish. Real Betis who were also promoted did one better and managed to finish in 10th place.
Least improved club
Valencia are number one contenders after a disaster of a season. From fighting for Champions League positions to barely managing to win games Valencia have been in shambles. Their appointment of Gary Neville, an in experienced manager did not make much sense and the results on the pitch testified to this. After his dismissal they managed to stabilize but never recover.
Standout player of the season
Luis Suarez has been a revelation this season. Taking time to integrate into the system and after being in the shadow of some of his counterparts, Luis Suarez has announced himself to Spain. 40 goals and 16 assists have made him top both charts as well as break the Cristiano Messi stronghold on the Pichichi award. To top it all this it all helped secure the title.
African Player of the Season
This has been a standout season for Cedric Bakambu. The Congolese forward has played a pivotal role in Villareal’s push for a Champions league spot. His exploits in La Liga have seen him notch 12 goals and three assists as well as 9 in the Europa league has drawn much applaud from pundits.
Young African Talent
With a growing number of Africans playing their trade in La Liga the competition has become tough for all on the pitch. This season we applaud a young Nigerian who goes by the name of Isaac Success.
The 20 year old has lit up the scene with his performances for Granada. The forward who can play across the line has notched up 6 goals and 2 assists in his first full season in the top flight. Isaac is most definitely one to watch in the coming seasons.
La Liga review: 10 things we learned as Barcelona retained their title and Luis Suarez became a superstar