Slider

La Liga: A Look At The Season So Far

The 2021-22 season of La Liga is proving to be an exciting contest at the halfway point, with Real Madrid leading the race to claim their 35th title this season. Defending champions Atletico Madrid have fallen behind in the title hunt, currently sitting in fifth place after a disastrous month. Newly promoted clubs have performed beyond expectations, breathing fresh air into the league. While Barcelona’s downfall has been much talked about, the appointment of Xavi as their new manager has brought them back into contention.

As an exciting year of football comes to a close, we take a look at the highlights from the 2021-22 La Liga season so far:

 

REAL MADRID’S RESURGENCE

Very few pundits predicted the dominance of Los Blancos this season, especially after the departure of veteran center-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane during the transfer window. Despite a relatively calm transfer window where they signed just one big name – David Alaba from Bayern Munich – the Spanish giants have managed to enjoy unparalleled dominance throughout the season. The resignation of Zinedine Zidane after the club narrowly failed to win La Liga last season led to the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti, who has managed to transform the club into a winning machine.

Real Madrid have lost just one of their 19 fixtures so far in the season, giving them a comfortable eight-point lead over second-placed Sevilla. They have scored a whopping 41 goals so far, led by the abilities of Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior. The return to form of Karim Benzema, who is currently the league’s top scorer with 15 goals, has been one of the highlights of the season. The veteran striker is finally getting all the attention as the departure of Lionel Messi left him as the main star of the Spanish league.

Real Madrid are also one of the favourites to win the UEFA Champions League this season, as the club qualified to the knockout rounds with just a single loss. If the club continues its streak of wins through the second half of the season, it will be well impossible for any club to catch up with the capital club.

 

BARCELONA’S DOWNFALL

No club has been talked about as much across Europe as Barcelona this season. The Catalan club’s troubles started well before the season started, with their longtime legend Lionel Messi leaving Camp Nou after much drama. A severe economic situation combined with several injuries among the remaining players left the club depleted of talent. A defeatist mentality made its way across both players and the fans, with the Spanish giants and 26-time champions falling to ninth place in the league.

The club’s management finally decided to fire Ronald Koeman and appoint Xavi as their manager in early November. His appointment brought much cheer to the fans of the Blaugrana, especially as the team enjoyed quick successes in November. But the optimism is fading at Camp Nou as the club crashed out of the Champions League group stage for the first time in 17 years. The retirement of Sergio Aguero has also left a dent in their prospects.

Despite winning just two of their last five games, Barca are just two points behind a Champions League spot. The return of injured players after the break and an opportunity to clinch the UEFA Europa League might just salvage the season for the Spanish giants.

 

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS FAIL TO KEEP UP

Diego Simeone’s men were in close contention to defend their title up until the start of December, when a string of losses increased the gap between the two capital clubs. Atletico Madrid lost four successive matches this month – including a 2-1 shock loss to Granada last week. The defending champions have won just eight of their 18 fixtures so far this season, increasing pressure on the Argentinian manager to turn things around quickly. With 29 points and a GD of just +7, the Colchoneros are looking at an increasingly difficult season ahead.

The loss of their star striker Antoine Griezmann to an injury has been particularly haunting, and the club needs to win every match from now on to reduce the 17-point gap from leaders Real Madrid. The team’s hesitation to play attacking football is a cause of concern, and Diego Simeone’s approach of taking games late into the night is not helping their fortunes. With the 51-year-old manager facing pressing questions over the team’s downfall, Atleti must utilise the mid-season break to rethink their strategy and tactics.

 

RAYO VALLECANO SHINES

Rayo Vallecano’s promotion to La Liga has been just as surprising as their form this season. After finishing sixth in the Segunda Division last season, the Madrid-based club has surprised everyone by accumulating 30 points from 18 fixtures, sitting above the likes of defending champions Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Andoni Iraola’s men are making steady strides throughout the season and are aiming for a spot in the Champions League. While a resurgent Atletico Madrid and Barcelona might deny them the spot, there is no doubt that the newly promoted club has managed to win acclaim for its consistency during the season.

 

RELEGATION ZONE

The other two promoted clubs, Espanyol and Mallorca are having decent seasons of their own. Espanyol are currently 11th in the table with six wins during the first half of the season and are well clear of the relegation zone. Mallorca are having a more difficult season – they are in the 15th position, just five points clear of the relegation zone.

Levante are having a disastrous season – with no wins so far in the calendar, they look set to be relegated along with the likes of Cadiz and Alaves. Getafe and Elche are currently close to the relegation zone with 15 points each, and the contest for staying in the La Liga is likely to be as exciting as the one at the top.

 

 

●●●

VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT FOOTBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.