El Centrocampista

Forget the Mayans, Armageddon still looms for a number of La Liga clubs



After the doom mongerers recently predicted Armageddon would bring an end to civilization, it is somewhat comforting to have survived  to see in the New Year and the resumption of La Liga.  Nonetheless, there are still a number of teams in the Spanish top flight who are still trying to avoid catastrophe.

Sevilla will feel a whole lot better after Emir Spahic’s goal saw off Osasuna at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Saturday evening, after all the 1-0 triumph gave them their first victory in six attempts – Michel’s side having picked up just one point going into the match against Jose Luis Mendilibar’s outfit.

Sevilla have secured a modest 11 points from the last 33 that were available to them and have also picked up eight red cards this season – heading the league in this department. In fact discipline was a key factor during Sevilla terrible run and in the six games they have finished the game with ten man this term, they have failed to win.

Jesús Navas, arguably their best player, has just two assists to his name so far this season – half that of this time during the 2011/12 campaign. The good news for Míchel, however, is that Navas tends to improve following the winter break.

Another team that headed into  2013 teetering over the abyss was  Jose Luis Oltra’s Deportivo La Coruña. The Galicians were two points adrift at the foot of the table and  had conceded the most goals in the league with 39. Having won just one of the previous 18 games, Depor’s board finally lost patience with Oltra and he was dismissed on 30 December.

Former Sporting Lisbon coach Domingos Paciencia was installed as Oltra’s successor and he made an instant impact – guiding them to a richly deserved 1-0 victory of Malaga on Saturday evening, a result which took them off the bottom.

Having guided Depor back into the top flight after just one season in Spain’s second tier, Oltra may feel hard done by, however, the table offers enough to suggest he can have little complaint. The fact that Depor failed to pick up a single win during  the months of September, October and December tells its own story.

They have conceded five or more goals in four occasions and the only two times they scored more than two they failed to pick up a win.

Mallorca are another side currently on a downward spiral in La Liga. Joaquin Caparros’s side sit just one point above the drop zone, and haven’t won a single game in the last 14 attempts.

It all started so well for Mallorca, as they went undefeated in the first five matches, however, they haven failed to win since. Caparross’ side lost every game in October and picked up just one point in November and December.

Another team struggling at the wrong end of the table is Andalucian side, Granada. The team coached by Juan Antonio Anquela began the season without a win in the first five games and have now won just twice in their last 11 games.

Granada have also struggled to find the net, going five games without a goal until the netted two against Ossauna just before Christmas. They also scored on Saturday evening against Valencia, unfortunately for Anquela and his men  however, Los Che managed two. Granada’s impotence up front is nothing new as their top scorer last season after 18 games only had two. They were also the worst scoring side half way through last season.

The fact that all four teams discussed are in action this weekend means that the world obviously didn’t come to an end in December, in fact far from seeing their demise, Sevilla and Deportivo have enjoyed a fantastic start to the New Year and will have renewed confidence they can now build on these displays and climb up the table.

Things look a little less rosy for Granada and Mallorca if they cannot turn around their dreadful form of late however, and both look set for a difficult 2013. We may not have seen the world come to an end in recent weeks, but relegation to the Spanish second tier would certainly feel just as bad for those unfortunate to be their at the end of the season.

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