La Liga Loca's Big Season Review: Osasuna to Real Sociedad
Good old Tim Stannard continues his rundown of the Spanish season's successes and sucky messes
Final Position 7th
LLL Rating A-
Osasuna displayed all their strengths this season but turned them up to 14. Strong as ever at home with the right amount of dirt and deviousness thrown in for good measure, and considerably improved away from home Ã¢ÂÂ aside from those niggling defeats at Barcelona and Real Madrid, where 15 goals were conceded with just the one in reply.
Having the tough-talking, hard-driving JosÃÂ© Luis Mendilibar Ã¢ÂÂ someone who doesn't just look like he drinks Irn-Bru but eats the can too Ã¢ÂÂ in charge of the side is the perfect fit for a team which has to do a great deal with very little.
This was proved by the side's best player: the formerly completely-lost-in-the-wilderness RaÃÂºl GarcÃÂa, who returned on loan from AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid and ended up scoring 11 league goals. However, it wasn't quite enough for a European spot, which Osasuna missed by just the single point. A shame for the crowd, with no foreign types to hurl abuse at for 90 minutes of a Thursday night.
Final Position 20th
LLL Rating F
An absolute disaster from Racing Santander in every single respect: good going all round. Three different managers but three identical end results: hopeless football from players who knew from day one that they were utterly doomed. HÃÂ©ctor CÃÂºper started the campaign before realising the club was a lost cause and resigning. Juanjo Gonzalez was bumped up in a promotion and lead the team with two colleagues, before they fell out and he was sacked.
Then Alvaro Cervera walked out on Recreativo Ã¢ÂÂ while on their team bus in actual fact, although he did ask for it to be stopped first rather than doing a stunt-man roll Ã¢ÂÂ but he couldn't stop the slide of a club in institutional chaos thanks to the complete legal mess that is the Ali Syed 'buy-out'. They're in for a very tough time of it in la Segunda next season.
Final Position 15th
LLL Rating B+
Another one the blog got wrong Ã¢ÂÂ thankfully. LLL expected Rayo, like Granada, to return straight to la Segunda but the capital city side managed to hang on at the last moment, albeit through a marginally offside goal in injury time Ã¢ÂÂ against Granada. But it really didn't need to be that way for Rayo.
Having been spectacularly strong in the first two-thirds of the season, Rayo turned pee-pee poor. Perhaps the players felt it was job done, grew quite tired or became fed up with the never-ending off-field problems that eventually saw manager JosÃÂ© MarÃÂa Sandoval leaving at the end of the season.
However, Rayo remain a Primera outfit and that's fully deserved for supporters who will continue to come up with wonderfully creative ways to rightfully insult Rayo's hapless rulers.
Final Position 1st
LLL Rating A-
Despite winning the league with a record number of points, record number of goals and a record number of dribbling articles about their greatness in Marca and AS, Mourinho's marauders still managed to drop points to Racing Santander, an almost criminal offence in retrospect.
The simple fact of the matter on the season just gone is that Real Madrid are richer and can buy better players than 18 of the rest of the teams in la Liga Ã¢ÂÂ maybe 19 Ã¢ÂÂ and were more versatile, hungry and committed than one other. And, to be honest, a lot more fun to watch for much of the season, too.
Final Position 12th
LLL Rating B+
The blog feels that some of la Real fans and one of two of their local journos need to take a good hard look at themselves in the mirror. Maybe explore their bodies. Try to feel good about themselves. After that they thoroughly consider whether it was the right thing to do in moaning all season about the French manager, Philippe Montanier, who managed to comfortably keep a club up with very limited resources and bring through a few tasty prospects for the future at the same time.