1 Word to Describe Every Team in La Liga This Season

Samuel MarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2013

1 Word to Describe Every Team in La Liga This Season

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    The finishing straight is in sight.

    Barcelona look set to clinch the title which they lost last year and Real and Atletico Madrid look set to join them in the Champions League.

    Malaga's European ban for next season means that as low as eighth place could gain Europa League qualification.

    At the bottom, Mallorca and Deportivo la Coruna have it all to do. A host of other clubs will not be able to sleep calmly yet either.

    Here, we take a look at each club's season so far using just one word...

Athletic Bilbao

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    Damaged

    One of last season's most exciting teams, Athletic have been hindered by transfer sagas, training ground bust ups with builders and tiredness, as relegation is becoming a real possibility.

    With no Javi Martinez—he left for Bayern Munich last summer—an underused Fernando Llorente and other players struggling to hit the last year's highs, the season has so far been a constant struggle.

Atletico Madrid

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    Consistent

    Other than a few dodgy away results, Atletico Madrid have displayed the type of consistency which has not been evident in various groups of talented Rojiblancos players in a long time.

    They've won every game at the Vicente Calderon and are ahead of Real Madrid with only Barcelona's imperious form keeping them out of striking distance of the title.


Barcelona

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    Rampant

    Recent defeats to AC Milan and Real Madrid have drawn a dark cloud, but the Catalan club still maintain a 12-point lead at the top and look set to reclaim the title at a canter.

    Only Real Sociedad have beaten Barcelona in the league with Tito Villanova's side getting off to a record breaking start, while Lionel Messi has been in typical goal scoring form.

Celta Vigo

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    Expected

    Promoted from La Segunda, Celta Vigo were never expected to pull up trees this season and sit in the bottom three as they turn on to the final straight.

    Iago Aspas had them looking good before Christmas, but transfer speculation has hit his form and manager Paco Herrera was recently replaced by Abel Resino, who started with a 2-1 win at home to Granada.


Deportivo La Coruna

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    Leaky

    Bottom of the table and with big financial problems—as is the norm in Spain—Deportivo have the worst defense in La Liga and look set for an instant return to La Segunda.

    They're on their third manager of the season, Fernando Vazquez following Domingos Paciencia and Jose Luis Oltra. He will have to produce something special to keep them up though, they're already nine points from safety.


Espanyol

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    Resurgent

    Rock bottom and doomed when Javier Aguirre replaced Mauricio Pochettino in November, Espanyol have since surged up the table.

    They're unbeaten at home under the Mexican, have only lost away at Atletico Madrid and Barcelona and now sit 13th in La Liga.


Getafe

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    Quiet

    Getafe have a tendency to slip through gameweeks fairly unnoticed, perhaps that's because there's not many people at their ground.

    That said, their win at home to city rivals Real Madrid at the start of the season will go down as a particular highlight. They're in contention to qualify for Europe too.

Granada

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    Par

    Expected to be in a relegation battle preseason, Granada are in one. The recent appointment of Lucas Alcaraz has seen them move out of the bottom three though.

    Although with just three points keeping them out of relegation, and the new-manger honeymoon period over, the hard work is only just beginning.

Levante

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    Effective

    They haven't quite hit last season's levels, but considering they're still managing a Europa League campaign Levante have been as Levante-like as ever.

    Built on experience, strength and shape, they are not a poster child for the pretty game. However, once again they have ground out results and head into the last part of the season in 10th place.


Malaga

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    Adversity

    Under the stewardship of Manuel Pellegrini, Malaga have competed against financial problems to maintain a decent league position and a Champions League challenge.

    They occupy fourth place at the moment, but unfortunately—as things stand—they will not be allowed to enter Europe next season due to a UEFA ban.


Mallorca

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    Faded

    An eighth-placed finish last year and unbeaten start this season have since been replaced by winless runs, a relegation battle and the departure of Joaquin Caparros.

    Former manager Gregorio Manzano is now the man tasked with turning over a seven-point gap to maintain the Islanders' Primera status.

Osasuna

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    Stability?

    Osasuna shocked many by finishing seventh last season, so it isn't completely surprising that they have found themselves in the bottom three for large chunks of the season.

    However, unlike most at the bottom, they have stuck with their manager, Jose Luis Mendilibar, and recent results suggest that stability could pay off.


Rayo Vallecano

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    Fun

    Their manager and many key players departed last summer, but Paco Jemez has come in and turned Rayo Vallecano into pretty much everyone's second team in La Liga.

    He preaches an attacking, aggressive style and Rayo regularly deliver. They're eighth at the moment, and although they wouldn't admit it, are in with a chance of European football next year.


Real Betis

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    Exciting

    Pepe Mel's Real Betis have dropped off in recent weeks—although they thumped Malaga last time out—but should still be happy with the progress they have made this season.

    Their away record is one of the best in the league, they're still in with a chance of European qualification and, in Benat and Ruben Castro, they have two great players to watch.


Real Madrid

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    Andalusia

    Los Blancos are unbeaten at the Bernabeu. Away from home though they've lost five times, including on each of their four trips to Andalusia, arguably costing them any title aspirations.

    The intensity of last season was far from evident as they lost at Real Betis, Sevilla, Malaga and most recently Granada.

Real Sociedad

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    Improving

    Inconsistent at the start of the season, questions were asked over Phillipe Montanier's team selections—particularly in midfield.

    They've found some form since Christmas though. Wins in the Basque derby and over Barcelona have propelled Sociedad up to sixth—they also have some of the league's finest young players.

Real Valladolid

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    Steady

    Promoted through the play-offs last season, Valladolid's return to the Primera has seen them quietly, but effectively, go about their business in the middle of the table.

    They look neither likely to make inroads into the battle for Europe, nor get sucked into the scrap at the bottom. That will suit coach Miroslav Djukic just fine.

Real Zaragoza

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    Freefall

    Last season Zaragoza produced the great escape, but without a win in 2013 they're in danger of being the team that gets sucked in instead this year.

    Their winless run has seen them slip to fourth bottom. Manolo Jimenez will need to muster some of the magic he found last year to stop them slipping further down the table.


Sevilla

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    Red

    Sevilla's recent Copa del Rey exit to Atletico Madrid saw them end the match with nine men—not particularly surprising given they've accumulated 12 red cards this season already.

    In the league they'll be disappointed too. They started well but have been inconsistent ever since. Michel has been replaced by Unai Emery and his side are 12th in La Liga, despite a decent home record.


Valencia

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    Disappointing

    Valencia have held a monopoly on third place in recent years, but following the departure of Unai Emery they now find themselves in a battle to even get fourth.

    Mauricio Pellegrino has already departed and his replacement, Ernesto Valverde, has moved them into a position where Champions League qualification again looks likely.