The fiercely competitive and unpredictable season that La Liga is shaping up to be has made for great viewing. After 14 years of the big boys dominating – is the tide turning? Who would’ve predicted that after 14 games, Sevilla would be a point behind Barcelona in second, Alaves would occupy fourth and Real Madrid are nowhere to be seen?
There has been a total of nine winners of the Spanish top flight, with the so-called big boys Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona holding a combined 68 titles. Then there are a further 19 titles shared between Real Betis (1), Sevilla (1), Deportivo La Coruña (1), Real Sociedad (2), Valencia (6) and Athletic Club Bilbao (8). It has now been 14 years since Valencia won their sixth and last title during the 2003/04 campaign.
Ever since, apart from Atleti’s triumph in 2013/14 La Liga has been dominated, with Barça securing nine titles and Madrid winning four. Los Rojiblancos however, are on a mission to break the cycle, and at present are succeeding. Spain’s oldest sporting club solely devoted to football won their first and only title in the 1945/46 season a triumph many fans will be hoping to re-create.
A strong start to the season with a convincing 4-1 victory over newly promoted Rayo Vallecano, provided the platform, continuing to make steady progress ever since. Their 3-0 victory over a struggling Real Madrid at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán sent a message to the rest of the league and are now on a four-game unbeaten run.
Sevilla’s fortunes this season has not been as a result of luck, instead it has been created by clever summer recruitment, helping create a solid defensive base coupled with fierce attacking flair. Boss Pablo Machín faced a tough task in the summer after Clément Lenglet, Steven Nzonzi, Sergio Rico and Joaquín Correa all departed and needed to be replaced. Many would’ve expected Los Rojiblancos to struggle as a result, but instead added the likes of Tomas Vaclik, Quincy Promes, André Silva and Ibrahim Amadou to their ranks. Portuguese international Silva is the joint third highest scorer with eight goals so far and has registered 70% of his attempts on target.
Whilst, Vaclík has seamlessly fitted in between the sticks playing every minute of Sevilla’s games in La Liga. The Czech international also received man of the match in their last game at home to Real Valladolid producing a multitude of saves to keep the clean sheet. All of these factors have made Sevilla the team to watch in La Liga and despite their Seville derby defeat earlier in the season they have shown no sign of taking their foot off the gas.
A mouth-watering clash with high flying Alavés at the Mendizorrotza ended level, which allowed the Catalans to take advantage. But with Barcelona just one point ahead, Sevilla must keep winning if they want to climb above Barca and be top of the tree at Christmas. We reminisce of Los Che’s triumph all those years ago, and after a period of irksome dominance, we cross our fingers and hope a fresh name will soon claim Spanish football’s top prize.