Real Madrid won the Spanish championship, Celta remained in the example – the results of the season

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A necessary digression: in order to objectively assess the teams’ season, in some cases it will have to be divided into two parts. The three-month pause in the championship had too much effect on the final standings, and its influence must be taken into account. If only because after the restart the future champion was transformed.

Real Madrid and Barcelona

Real Madrid were two points behind Barcelona by the beginning of the break. The last match was a defeat against Betis. Now this is hard to imagine: after the resumption of the championship, Madrid won 10 victories in a row and scored 31 points in the final 11 rounds. Even if Barcelona hadn’t lost points so often and kept their pre-covid schedule (in fact, they only slowed it down a little, from 2.2 points per game to 2.1 points per game), they would still lose leadership.

The reasons for Real’s success have already been detailed in several texts. To summarize, Real Madrid proved to be the most flexible of all title contenders and the best adapted to the challenges. Great credit for this belongs to Zidane. He changed the scheme and rotated the squad, based on the shape of the players and the characteristics of the opponents, and also came up with several new roles for his players (the most striking one is in Valverde). In addition to Zidane, physical training coach Gregory Dupont should also be noted, who prepared the team well after the break – few people returned to the season so powerfully and without swinging. And, of course, Ramos. The captain and leader of Real Madrid was critically important not only for the game, but also for influencing the mentality of the team (these are the words of Zidane). And at the same time he became the second scorer, losing only to Benzema.

Barcelona are going through a difficult transition. Throughout the season, the team periodically lost points in matches that it should have won (although this also applies to Real Madrid), but at the decisive moment did not add, and even slowed down a little. Even such a crisis Barcelona have recently had convincing matches in terms of the quality of the game (against Mallorca, Alaves). The team has obviously not reached its full potential. But this does not eliminate the problem of generational change. Over the past three years, Barcelona have bought players for an incredible 770 million euros – but it cannot be said that there are new faces in the first roles. And it cannot be said that lessons have been learned from these mistakes.

Enough has been written about Barcelona’s problems lately. It can be added that the long-overdue dismissal of Valverde happened at the most unfortunate time: after an excellent match against strong Atlético. And to replace him, the club chose the most controversial candidate who, at the age of 60, had never worked with a top club and top players in his life. He quickly gained control of the ball – but this is clearly not enough, and then it did not go further.

Barcelona seemed to be frozen in anticipation of the presidential election. They will happen in a year, Bartomeu will definitely leave, with a high degree of probability the club will face a serious reboot. But you don’t have to wait a whole year – something can be changed now. The fact that changes are necessary was directly stated by Messi after the defeat at Osasuna. “Something has to change. If we continue to play like this, we won’t lose to Napoli either. It is not normal that Barcelona is won only by desire. ”

Bartomeu doesn’t understand football, but he is not unique in this: many club presidents focus on financial affairs. For this there is the position of a sports director – a person who is responsible for a sports project. It is difficult to find signs of any consistent development and long-term planning in Barcelona, ​​and Eric Abidal is responsible for this. He has been in office since the summer of 2018: during this time, Barcelona bought Griezmann and de Jong and lost de Ligt. Of the minor transfers, the resonance was caused by the transfer of Firpo, who several years ago wrote insults to Messi on social networks. In an interview with Diario Sport, Abidal stated that he has been looking for Valverde’s replacement ever since he took office at the club. That is, he spent a year and a half searching and found Setien. Abidal called Setien the “ideal coach” for Barcelona and noted that the coach has the club’s DNA. Perhaps a sports director is also a position that needs strengthening.

Champions League zone

Atlético ended up clinging to their usual third place, but most of the season was a disappointment. João Felix, predictably, did not become an equivalent replacement for Griezmann – this is not a failure, the player is growing. But the eerie realization of Costa and Morata came as a surprise. Both of Atletico’s top forwards have scored less than they should have on the xG metric – although top forwards tend to score above normal and exceed expected goals. Due to poor implementation, Atlético lost so many points at the start of the season that by the winter they fell off the championship race. Considering how often the main favorites of the tournament stumbled, this was especially inappropriate.

At the end of the season, the problems with implementation were also worth a few points (draws with Athletic, Celta and Real Sociedad were absolutely out of the game), but no longer had such a radical significance. The team missed their chance for the title back in the fall. In general, serially missing good chances is absolutely not in the style of the Simeone gang, so there is a temptation to blame everything on a one-time failure, and not on signs of a systemic crisis.

Sevilla also experienced a revolution – only personnel. Of the 11 footballers who scored the most playing time in the last championship, five left the team. But all were replaced without loss of quality. Season opening – Lucas Ocampos. In the highly pressing Sevilla, he is valuable not only for goals, but also for his excellent reading of the game and work without the ball. Regilon played on loan from Real Madrid (it should be bought out), and Kunde, perhaps, was worth his 25 million euros – on average, Sevilla conceded fewer goals per game. He is only 21 years old, so, most likely, this is also an investment in the future.

Sevilla are one of the teams that have not been affected by the coronavirus. In the last 11 rounds, the Sevillians have never lost and won six times. 23 points in 11 games – just the fourth in the league and almost identical to their schedule before the pandemic.

Lopetegui managed to make the team stronger than last year despite the fact that in total Sevilla has changed 14 players, claiming a place in the starting line. And this despite the fact that the team plays difficult combination football with ball control and bold pressing. In terms of possession, Sevilla lost only to Barcelona and Real Madrid, so Lopetegui did not make any compromises with his style. A great season and a reason to look forward to further progress next season.

Europa League

First of all, I must say about Getafe. This team lit up a year ago, when, at the end of the season, it made its way to the Europa League, although until the last it claimed the Champions League. Getafe is an absolute underdog, which in terms of its composition should only claim to fight for survival. But coach Pepe Bordalas transformed the team. With its ultra-brutal style, Getafe resembles Atlético, but it puts pressure higher and more aggressively and gives the ball even more radically – as befits an outsider. In terms of possession of the ball, Getafe is in fourth place from the end, but in the top three in serving from the flanks into the penalty area.

Getafe met the pause due to the coronavirus in fourth place, but broke down after the restart of the season. Physical condition is key for teams that play such intense pressure, but it was physics that failed. The team has two points in the last six rounds. And the final eighth place – past the European cups. Failure compared to what was more recently.

The failure of Getafe was taken advantage of by Real Sociedad. Imanol Alguasil’s team also failed the final segment, but still not so much. Just a couple of victories in 11 rounds were enough to catch on to the Europa League. The main thing is to keep the team up until then. Negotiations with Real Madrid on Edegor are over, the player will remain in San Sebastian for another year. Now it remains to save Isak, Merino and Oyarsabal and you can play in European competitions.

Another team that made it to the Europa League is Villarreal. Despite the accomplished task, the leadership is looking for a successor to Javi Callehe. They are called Unai Emery. Perhaps a new coach was needed because of instability: Villarreal started the season poorly and ended up in another hole in the winter. At the same time, after the restart of the season, the team played cool attacking football with a high-quality passing game and showed high performance.

Valencia did not make it to the European competition, and this is the least of the problems. Albert Celades tried to preserve Marcelino Toral’s achievements as much as possible: compact defense, flank counterattacks and a 4-4-2 scheme, but nothing came of it. Since January, the team has only three victories in all tournaments. At the end of June, Celades was fired, but it’s not even about him personally. The president of Valencia, a Singaporean businessman, Peter Lim, seems to deliberately embody the stereotypes of incompetent Asian owners. He does not like football, he is not interested in the opinion of the fans, but also of the players themselves. He fired the coach who led the team to the Champions League and the sporting director who supported the coach. And his daughter Kim in early July published a post on social networks, which, in principle, gives a comprehensive idea of ​​the club’s prospects. “Some Valencia fans criticize my family and me. Don’t they understand anything? This is our club, and we can do whatever we want with it, and no one can tell us anything. ” She then deleted the post, but everyone managed to read it.

Departure area

Among the eliminated teams, Leganes evokes sympathy. After a nightmare start (six points in 15 rounds), the team improved greatly with the appointment of Javier Aguirre. And this even despite the unfair loss of Braithwaite: for the sake of his transfer to Barcelona outside the transfer window, the League made an exception, but did not go towards Leganes and did not allow them to buy a replacement.

In the last five matches, Leganes has three wins and two draws. Oscar Rodriguez was defeated, Ivan Cuellar was heroic, there were real chances of salvation. In the last round, Leganes needed a victory over Real Madrid. And in the 86th minute, when the score was 2: 2, the ball in the penalty area of ​​Real Madrid hit the left hand of Jovic.

According to modern rules, this is a penalty. But the arbiter, using the help of VAR, decided that there was no violation. The Madrid newspaper Marca analyzed the episode. Former referee Mariano Andujar called the decision not to give a penalty kick inexplicable. “Leganes” was not enough to save one goal: he drew, and the victory would have kept his place in the Example for the next season.

You can sympathize with Barcelona, ​​Atlético, sorry for Valencia, but, perhaps, Leganes got the most. First, Braithwyet’s departure to bypass the rules, and then the controversial decision of the referee at a decisive moment in the season after the team did everything to stay.

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