Presenting your hipster’s choice manager of the season

In a season where Michel Sanchez has flipped the table upside down for Girona – most would have had them closer to bottom three than top three – La Liga managers have their work cut out this season to receive the credit they deserve. One of which is Luis Garcia Plaza.

Las Palmas’ Garcia Pimienta, Athletic Club’s Ernesto Valverde and Valencia’s Ruben Baraja probably have better cases to present to the panel, but Alaves are just two points behind Las Palmas, and have been quietly going about their business in the Basque Country.

Even the newest online casino would have been giving you long odds for El Glorioso to be close to safety at this stage. Currently Alaves have 10 points and three teams between themselves and the drop zone, while just five separate them from the top half. During the course of the season they’ve beaten Atletico Madrid, given Real Madrid and Barcelona three good games so far, and scored some of the best goals, most recently Luis Rioja’s thunderous volley.

Garcia Plaza, a veteran of the top two leagues at this point, built a solid side last season that ground out results, and beat Levante in extremis in the play-off final, after finishing fourth. Yet this season has seen an exciting Alaves side challenge every side they come up against. Atletico Madrid loanee Samu Omorodion is looking like one of the great promises in Spanish football, with nine goals in his debut La Liga season, while Real Madrid loanee Rafa Marin looks to have earned himself a place in their squad next season.

Real Sociedad products Jon Guridi and Alex Sola have shown quality that even Imanol Alguacil couldn’t get out of them at Real Sociedad, and young left-back Javi Lopez is being linked to Champions League sides.

It’s important to remember that alongside Las Palmas, Alaves have one of the two lowest salary limits in the league, both separated by more than 33% of their budgets to their next contender. Alaves have played with verve, intent, pace and commitment, becoming a team any fan would be glad to roar onwards in the process. In a region dominated by the grape business, Luis Garcia Plaza has turned water into wine in Vitoria-Gasteiz, and while it is understandable that several others hit more of the headlines, if Alaves finish out the season in the same vein, the 51-year-old from Madrid deserves his own bouquet of flowers at the end of it.

La Liga - Club News