La Liga preview – part three

This train keeps on rolling with part three of our LaLiga preview. Have a look at part one and two for an enormous sense of wellbeing before jumping aboard… Ready? Get a load of G.


Last season’s big over-achievers came tantalisingly close to pinching an unlikely Champions League spot, and having spent 11 weeks in the top four, it felt like Pepe Bordalás’ side would have deserved it. The fixture list had other ideas, however, and a two nil defeat at the Camp Nou on the penultimate day meant they had to settle for fifth and a Europa League place. Consistent both on the road and at the wonderfully named Coliseum, the team from this working-class Madrid suburb will be looking to balance the third European campaign in their history with another season of steady progress in the league.

Harry Redknapp’s wheeler dealers

Numbers were needed to take on the extra matches this year, and so far Getafe have managed to hold on to all of their key men from last time out. Enric Gallego should add some more goals after an encouraging six months at Huesca, and likewise Allan Nyom has been poached after an impressive loan spell at Leganés last year. Fayçal Fajr has returned after a year at Caen, but the big coup could be the loan signing of Marc Cucurella from Barcelona. A left-wing-back in the mould of Adrià Pedrosa, he will add pace and creativity on the flank.

Possible starting XI

Possible Getafe starting line up 19/20
Possible Getafe starting line up 19/20

David Bowie’s Starman: David Soria

The former Sevilla keeper put points on the board for Getafe last year.

David Soria was on fire for Getafe last year

Have a look at the full squad on Transfermarkt here.

(Modern) Moment of glory

Getafe are neither cup-winners nor giant-killers. They are, however, reliable and consistently punch above their weight. They are also somewhat bereft of history, founded as they were in 1983. Their “golden era” was probably when they reached consecutive Copa del Rey finals in 06/07 and 07/08. They lost on both occasions, to Sevilla and Valencia respectively, but took part in the 07/08 UEFA Cup thanks to Sevilla already having qualified for Europe through the league. Fans were delighted when they were drawn against Portuguese giants Benfica in the round of sixteen, and reached delirium when they turned them over in both legs. They came within five minutes of knocking out Bayern in the quarters, before Luca Toni scrapped a double at the end of extra time.

Getafe came within the breadth of one of Luca Toni’s greasy hairs of beating Bayern

FiveThirtyEight forecast: 7th


Granada go into a league campaign without a change in the manager’s hot seat for the first time in six years. Diego Martínez, who was assistant manager to Unai Emery at Sevilla, will be La Liga’s youngest coach at only 38 years old. His CV thus far is impressive, having missed the playoffs by one point at Osasuna in 17/18, before leading Granada to second place and automatic promotion from Spain’s gruelling second division, and, most importantly, having gone a long way towards banishing unpleasant memories of Tony Adams’ Andalusian adventure. He seems to have inherited his mentor’s penchant for rotation, and is not afraid to adapt his team’s tactical approach during matches. Financial problems have made the headlines at El Nuevo Los Carmenes this summer, with the club having to reduce the wage bill and raise funds before signing new players in order to satisfy La Liga’s wage cap restrictions. It looks as if Martínez will have his work cut out to compete with the big boys, but it will be fascinating to see how he gets on.

Harry Redknapp’s wheeler dealers

Centreback José Antonio Martínez and number 10 Fede Vico were successes on loan last year, and both have returned for the new campaign. Martínez is on loan again from Eibar, while Vico joined on a permanent basis from Leganés. The marquee arrivals of Darwin Machís (Udinese) and Domingos Duarte (Sporting Lisbon) represent a step up in quality and are good investments for the future. The signings of Yan Eteki (Sevilla) and Yangel Herrera on loan (Man City) should bolster the midfield, but los granadinistas will be reliant on 34-year-old Roberto Soldado, who joined from Fenerbahçe, and 33-year-old Adrián Ramos for goals. Yikes. 

Possible starting XI

Possible Granada CF starting line up 19/20
Possible Granada starting line up 19/20

David Bowie’s Starman: Domingos Duarte

Domingos Duarte playing for Sporting Lisbon
Domingos Duarte will be key for Granada this year

Granada had the best defence in LaLiga2 last season, conceding only 28 goals in 42 games. Such numbers will be impossible to replicate against some of the best attacks in the world, but new faces such as Duarte, who played the 18/19 season at Deportivo de La Coruña, will have to step up if they are to stand any chance. 

Have a look at the full squad on Transfermarkt here.

(Modern) Moment of glory

April 2014’s first league victory over FC Barcelona since 1972 is about as good as it gets for Granada fans. Yacine Brahimi’s goal and Barça’s profligacy helped Granada secure 15th place for the second season running, and also contributed to Barcelona losing their LaLiga crown to Atlético Madrid on the final day of the season.

Granada beat Barça at Los Carmenes

FiveThirtyEight forecast: 19th


Leganés go into their fourth season in Spain’s top flight full of confidence, last year’s 13th place finish coming as welcome respite after two nerve-wracking campaigns in which they narrowly avoided relegation by finishing 17th. Mauricio Pellegrini’s first year in charge at the Butarque was a success, and Lega will be looking to venture further up the ladder this time out, although survival will remain the priority for the smallest of the four Madrid-based sides in the league. 

Harry Redknapp’s wheeler dealers

It has been a comparatively quiet summer, which reflects the more settled nature of the squad that Leganés have assembled since ascending to La Liga. Szymanowski is out for the season and the only notable departure was Nabil El Zhar leaving on a free transfer, with replacements in the form of Juan Muñoz (Alcorcón), Sabin Merino (Bilbao) and Fede Varela (Porto). Martin Braithewaite (Middlesbrough) has turned his loan into a permanent move, as has Kenneth Omeruo (Chelsea). Roberto Rosales was a steal at 1.2 million euros from Málaga, and Jonathan Silva (Sporting Lisbon) will further strengthen the back line. 

Possible starting XI

Possible Leganés starting line up 19/20
Possible Leganés starting line up 19/20

David Bowie’s Starman: Youssef En-Neysri

Footballer En Neysri playing for Leganés
Which way is Brighton?

Unhappy to see an offer from Brighton turned down by the club, En-Neysri will need to be firing on all cylinders to propel Leganés up the table.

Have a look at the full squad on Transfermarkt here.

(Modern) Moment of glory

Much like Eibar, Leganés never imagined they would one day be competing in the top tier. The day they sealed their promotion to La Liga, June 4th 2016, then, was historic.

Leganés win promotion to La Liga away to Mirandés

FiveThirtyEight forecast: 13th

The final whistle has blown on this preseason warm-up, join us again tomorrow when we continue our jaunt around Spain.

2 thoughts on “La Liga preview – part three

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