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Things go from bad to worse as Espanyol sink into the mire
- Updated: 20 October, 2012
The words Spain and crisis seem to appear together with growing regularity as the country lurches on to the edge of the financial abyss. The current fiscal crisis has become a part of every Spaniards daily life and football in the country has been no exception. Several clubs in the Primera Division, to say nothing about other divisions, are in heavy debt and many have had to sacrifice their long-term football projects just to keep afloat in the short term.
One of these teams is Espanyol. The Barcelona-based club seem to lose more and more talent each year and the consequence of this constant turnover of their most influential players is now being seen on the football pitch. After seven La Liga games, Espanyol find themselves rooted to the foot of the table and are the only team yet to record a win this season.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men are currently conceding an average of two goals every game at their Estadi Cornellà-El Prat and have the dubious distinction of having the worst defensive record in the league on home soil this season. The struggles of los Periquitos date further back than this campaign, however, and if we look at their record from January we see only four teams have had fewer victories than Espanyol in the top flight.
Worryingly for Pochetino, the teams that have recorded fewer victories than Espanyol are newly-promoted teams of Celta, Valladolid and Deportivo who have played just seven Primera Division games so far, and Racing Santander who were relegated in May. With 26 games played since January, Espanyol have had almost four times as many opportunities to pick up victories than the three promoted teams, and seven more than Racing.
Tellingly, Espanyol also have fewer victories in the top flight this year than both Sporting and Villarreal, who joined Racing in the Segunda Division at the end of last season.
During the last 45 games, Espanyol’s leading goalscorer has been Kalu Uche – a player no longer at the club and a player who took part in just 15 of those 45 matches. The Nigerian striker scored a modest six goals during those games – to put this into perspective, Radamel Falcao, Lionel Messi and Crisitano Ronaldo have all scored eight goals after just seven matches so far this season.
In the assist department, Espanyol’s leading contributor during the previous 45 matches has been Sergio García with eight. The former Barcelona player ranks well behind the likes of Mesut Ozil of Real Madrid and Messi, however, who had double that amount last season. There are also another 11 La Liga players have surpassed García’s total during that same period of time.
If things weren’t bad enough for Espanyol, on top of the current footballing predicament, there is also a presidential and economical crisis at the club. In fact the only thing that seems to offer some kind of stability has been coach Pochettino. From the 20 coaches in the Spanish top division, the Argentine tactician has spent more time than anybody commanding his team. However, with the Catalan club yet to pick up a league win after seven games, there are growing fears that his time at the helm may just be coming to an end.
For more statistical analysis on Spanish football, follow Javier on Twitter at @javierjotahFollow @icentrocampista