Early season struggles

We're just a few weeks into the season but already we have a relegation six pointer on our hands this weekend as bottom side Osasuna travel to Real Zaragoza.

There are just three winless sides in La Liga after four games – Osasuna are one of those, along with Espanyol and Granada. Meanwhile, Zaragoza find themselves in familiar territory, hovering precariously above the trapdoor.

Since returning to La Liga in 2009, Zaragoza have struggled to keep away from the danger zone. Their 13th placed finish in 2010 is their best to date, but they have scraped survival by just two points in the last two seasons.

A number of Coaches have been through the revolving door at La Romareda, but Marcelino, Jose Aurelio Gay and Mexico's Coach at the 2010 World Cup, Javier Aguirre, have all struggled to bring success to the club.

Manolo Jimenez has now been charged with taking Zaragoza forward, and will certainly be looking to progress after another scrape with relegation. The club has been in financial disarray in recent times – much like the majority of Spanish clubs – and Jimenez somehow steadied the ship and guided them to safety in the face of adversity.

Hopefully the club can now gain some continuity under Jimenez, as the constant upheaval has pinned them in the lower reaches of the table for the last three years now. The departure of winger Angel Lafita is a huge blow, so it will be interesting to see whether a true playmaker will come out of the shadows to give Helder Postiga the ammunition up front.

Their season kicked off with a dull 1-0 home defeat to Real Valladolid, but the team showed great resiliency to come from a goal down to beat another struggling side, Espanyol, 2-1. As is often the case with teams battling the drop, Zaragoza struggled to build on the result and subsequently lost their next two games.

Osasuna's start to the new season is something of a surprise to most people that saw them narrowly miss out on Europa League qualification by one point last season. Just three defeats at home and a proficiency from set pieces led to an impressive campaign under Jose Luis Mendilibar, and another shot at the European places was expected this year.

An opening day loss to newly promoted Deportivo La Coruna was followed up by a devastating late defeat to Barcelona in a game where they more than held their own – and could even blame some poor officiating for their demise. But, they followed that up by turning in a tepid display against another promoted side, Celta Vigo, coming home with nothing from their second trip to Galicia.

They did finally pick up their first point of the season in a 1-1 draw with Mallorca, but what is the problem with Los Rojillos at the moment?

Some of the concern surrounds their goalscoring, or lack of it. Just two goals in their first four games is highlighting the departure of goalscoring midfielder Raul Garcia. Garcia has returned to Atletico Madrid after a season long loan spell last year, but his impact at El Sadar will always be remembered. With 11 goals in just 33 games for the club, he was their top scorer, four ahead of striker Ibrahima Balde – who has also made for the exit this summer for Russian club Kuban Krasnodar. With nearly 20 goals taken out of the side, Mendilibar will have to put his faith in Joseba Llorente and Nino to get the goals that Osasuna need.

The battle at weekend sees two teams desperately searching for a positive result to kickstart their season lock horns, but don't expect the game to be a free-flowing, goal filled affair. With confidence low, a mistake or piece of inspiration could be what settles it. The key will be whether the winner of the game can build on it and drag themselves away from the danger zone. For the team that loses? It will be a case of back to the drawing board…