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Showing posts from March, 2017

Statistics - Teams that have never won away (31st March, 2017)

I've been compiling some stats for a long time - so watch out in the coming days for them

This season, every team in the Segunda has won at least one game away from home. In light of that, I compiled of teams that never won away in the top three divisions since 1990.

There's the team that survived on goals scored, after head-to-head and goal difference were futile (Marino de Luanco). There's the team that is called Andorra, and won no away games in the 1997-98 Segunda B in Group 3, and plays in Andorra la Vella, Andorra, which is different from the team called Andorra, which won no away games two years earlier in the same group, which plays in Andorra, Teruel, Aragon. There's the team that didn't even pick up a single point away from home (Cieza). There's the team that survived relegation by one point and then survived the two-legged relegation playoff by penalties (Cádiz).

And then there's Sevilla, who, inexplicably, defied all the odds and won the Europa …

Rejuvenating careers - Paco Jémez's success list (30th March, 2017)

Over four incredible seasons at Rayo, Paco Jémez took a Rayo side that was seconds away from relegation to an eight place finish, two mid-table finishes and an unfortunate relegation that even now seems unreal.

During that time, many players came to Rayo whose careers were in disarray - here's a list of those players who have now gone on to bigger and better things.

Bebé

After a botched transfer to Manchester United, three loan spells with various degrees of success, a sale to Benfica, and a wretched six months and a relegation with Córdoba, Rayo took him in 2015 where he became a deadly left winger, with three goals and nine assists. After Rayo were relegated, he was sold to Eibar, where he has been a regular.

Iago Falqué

He played for Real Madrid's and Barcelona's youth teams. He was 18 when sold to Juventus and 22 when sold to Spurs, before which he had had loan spells with Bari and Villarreal B. After further loans to Southampton and Almería, Iago joined Rayo in 2013. H…

A day without blogging, Numancia, Espanyol, Piti and more (27th March, 2017)

Failure is a strong word. It means a lack of success, collapse, the cessation of required action.

Yesterday, I didn't want to fail.

I failed because of me. I had an article ready and couldn't post it - but that's an excuse. As every second ticked towards the 10 o'clock mark I could feel myself becoming more and more frustrated.

I was going to fail and I couldn't do anything about it. In just over a month I'm so addicted to daily blogging that the withdrawal was immense - symptoms including crankiness, anxiety and hyperactivity.

26th March will go up on the Hall of Shame, whether I like it or not. The irony of not having written for a day is that it gave me something to write about the next day - something that is amazing in its counterproductive nature.
Today's post features the games against Numancia and Espanyol, the teams that the men's and women's teams played respectively. It also features what was supposed to go up yesterday - a short segment…

Numancia, Girona and Pablo Machín (25th March, 2017)

Given that we're playing Numancia and Girona in quick succession, today's blog post is dedicated to a man who lives and breathes the club from where he was born, only to change the fortunes of a team 300 miles away.

Pablo Machín was born in Soria, honed as a footballer at CD Numancia de Soria, made his first-team debut for the club at the age of 19, played for Numancia for four years, retired, became coach of the youth team at 25, the B team at 31, the first team as an assistant at 32, and the first team as head coach at 36. His whole life had been dedicated to the Rojillos, and he had never thought of going anywhere else.

Maybe that’s why he left after two seasons. He had never been anywhere else, and maybe it was the right time for a new challenge.

In 2014, he took a Girona team that had just finished 16th, surviving relegation on the last day, and took them to third, losing out on automatic promotion on the final day. In the very next season, Girona managed to finish fourth…

The Osasuna case and Antonio Amaya (24th March, 2017)

In the 2013-14 La Liga, Osasuna were relegated along with Valladolid and Real Betis. This was the season Real Betis were playing amazingly well in the Europa League but bottling it in the league.

And even though they had nothing to play for, some of their players may have had a reason to not play for anything.

Irregularities in Osasuna's accounts and the fixtures at the end of the 2013/14 season has led the Prosecutor Office to ask for more than 14 years in prison for Osasuna's former administrator, Ángel Vizcay, and more than 12 for former president Miguel Archanco and former director Txuma Peralta.

But there's more, they also have requested 11 years and 11 months of imprisonment for ex-directors Juan Pascual, José Manuel Purroy and Sancho Bandrés, and for ex-Betis players Antonio Amaya, Jordi Figueras and Xavi Torres it's 2 years in prison and a 1.9 million euro fine.

Let's look at this one by one:


The prosecutor wants Vizcay to release more information after a c…

What 31 days of daily blogging has taught me (23rd March, 2017)

Well, to be fair, this is day 32.

I started writing about Rayo Vallecano daily on the 16th of February, 2017. In 36 days, I have uploaded 32 posts on this very blog. 32 times pushing the "Publish" button. 32 times sitting down and asking myself what I should write about. 32 times creating something - a story, an article. a rant. Something.

More than a month ago, I remember wanting to start a daily blog, as an impetus to write more, as a way to compensate for an almost disastrous writing in the second half of 2016 and as a way to be more connected and aware of the subjects I was writing about.

I remember reading countless articles on the pros and cons of daily blogging - the arguments for and against essentially boiling down to quantity and quality.

But I also remember thinking how blogging daily and accept the inevitable drop in quality was just not me. I remember thinking how most of my previous work were long-form pieces that wove sad, forgotten, under-reported and chilli…

Resuscitating a career - Diego Costa and Sandoval (22nd March, 2017)

It's funny to think that Diego Costa was once a backup at Atlético Madrid.

In June 2011, he was packing his bags. Beşiktaş had agreed a deal, and he was going to leave. All the papers had been signed. The team had four non-EU players and Eduardo Salvio was being favored over Costa.
Costa was going to Turkey.
However, in July, Diego Costa tore his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus, which meant not only was the deal to Turkey off, but he would also be out for six months and unregistered for an entire year.
Closer to recovery, in January, Sandoval insisted he come to Rayo. Costa was nowhere near full fitness, but Sandoval believed in him. He would later say that Costa was the best striker in the world.
He was right.
Diego Costa scored four in three games, which became six in seven, and eventually ten in sixteen as Rayo Vallecano survived in La Liga. 
Diego Costa went on to score 20 goals in the 2012-13 season and 35 in the next. He would win the Copa del Rey and the league wit…

Roberto Trashorras, Movilla and Numancia (21st March, 2017)

I wanted to write about something common between Rayo and Numancia. Then I thought about players who had played for both, inspired by yesterday's blog post. So I thought I'd write a little about former passing legends such as Roberto Trashorras, whose story deserves to be heard. 

After eight years at Barcelona and two at Real Madrid, Roberto Trashorras was at a crossroads. He was 24, unemployed and forgotten. Barcelona had picked him up from boyhood club Racing Vilalbés at the age of 14, and his resemblance to Juan Sebastián Verón earned him the nickname la brujita del mini. He had started out as a striker but was converted to a playmaker by Barcelona B coach Quique Costas due to his knack of assisting goals.

However, after just two first team opportunities, and a Jorge Valdano-influenced move to Real Madrid resulted in two dull seasons at Real Madrid Castilla left Roberto in serious doubts. Racing Vilalbés, his boyhood club, would take him back in a heartbeat.

But it was Numa…

Rayo Vallecano and Real Oviedo (20th March, 2017)

Four.

There were four ex-Rayistas in the Oviedo squad. Néstor Susaeta, who oversaw Rayo's return to La Liga after eight years; David Fernández, Vallekas born-and-bred, who became a legend with Real Oviedo by guiding them to the Segunda, and did the same with Guadalajara for the first time in their history; Michu, who was La Liga's highest scoring midfielder and would later on become the bargain of the Premier League, costing Swansea £2 million; and Jonathan Pereira, who scored the goal to secure Villarreal's swift return to La Liga.

All four of them played against Rayo yesterday. And none of them turned up.

Rayo Vallecano played against a team and won convincingly - a sentence that has not been said for a long, long time.

The pairing of Trashorras and Fran Beltrán was a revelation. Fran was hustling and bustling while Trashorras kept the game ticking. Lass terrorized the right flank, while Álex Moreno terrorized the left. Embarba kept popping into space, and Javi Guerra w…

Zozulya, Presa, Marca and a hero named Casanova (19th March, 2017)

The Zozulya case is messy and complicated and divisive. The residents of Vallekas have clearly not warmed themselves to him. There's another resident who hasn't, and he's pretty important.
Pablo Iglesias.
Yes, the leader of the Podemos party, the third largest in Spain, weighed in on the situation. "It is very healthy for the fans of the team in my neighborhood to say that Zozulya is not part of Rayo's values. Rayo is a team that does not get along with intolerance and racism."
Also, Pablo Iñiguez is out for three to four weeks. As if Baena out and Quini (suspension) not being available due to suspension was going to make the game against Oviedo any easier.

Oh, and I can't believe no one is saying this, but Presa gave an interview that went something like this.

Have you had any real offer to sell the club?

Yes, many.

Would you consider selling it?

No, not right now because the situation is complex. We have not come here for an economic issue, but for a theme…

Previewing Rayo vs Real Oviedo - a collaboration with OviedoFans and OviedistaNorthWest (18th March, 2017)

John Mothershaw of oviedofans.blogspot.com and I collaborated on a preview of the upcoming fixture. It was published on his blog here and also on OviedistaNorthWest here.

And it's right here on this blog too. But before you read it, send John some love on Twitter here. And while you're at it, to me here too. Thanks.

I love you.


Sarthak

Given the summer window and the squad that was assembled at the start of the season, is Rayo where you want it to be?

Not even close. Rayo managed to keep all their La Liga starters, save right-back Tito and midfielder Jozabed - and even then Rayo brought in adequate replacements. Maybe Rayo fans underestimated their losses, but even then being joint-bottom is quite unexpected.

Currently, Rayo are joint-bottom in 21st - do you think they have what it takes to survive in the Segunda?

Given that even if you don't count Real Oviedo they still have to play six of the top ten, my money is not on them staying up. The last five games of the season ar…

Rayo B, Sandoval and a historic promotion (17th March, 2017)

In light of the fact that Rayo B might return to the regional leagues, where Rayo B haven't played since 1988...

They had topped their group - by 11 points, no less - but that was not enough. They had to play L'Hospitalet over two legs, they were at the Municipal Feixa Llarga and 1-0 down, with only seconds to go.

A free kick from the halfway line results in a corner on the left hand side. Confusion in the box. Calls for a penalty while the Rayo player run to take another corner from the other side of the pitch.

Step forward, Borja García.

The goalkeeper misses the cross, and it's an easy tap in - Sandoval's team are up into the Segunda B. In the 97th minute, Rayo B had made it.


In other news, Javier Tebas confirmed that Rayo has an agreement with the NASL that a new franchise will be created within two years - reportedly in Omaha or Las Vegas, Betis' Rafael Salas apologized for his previous comments about Zozulya (which I talked about here), and Saúl Níguez, Joaqu…

Ferdinand Daučík - the best manager ever in Spain (15th March, 2017)

Yes, this is one of those days. I feel like those days are coming a lot.

But I'm really happy about that - if the goal was to write something everyday, and I'm posting it on somewhere other than this blog, then it means the story is defined well, it's polished and it's edited.

This one is about Ferdinand Daučík, one of the best managers ever. He is underrated, easily the most and most experienced in Spain and it is a shame that he gets very little attention (perhaps because he's foreign). It's on BarcaBlaugranes.com (here).

The true Rayistas (14th March, 2017)

We seem to think that footballers form emotional attachment and loyalty to their clubs, but being a professional footballer is a job - and that job is their means of survival. Which is why we celebrate, and revere, and treasure those who genuinely care about the club, put their money where their mouth is and stay on.
They didn't need to. They weren't expected to.  And yet they did.
There is no heroism in it. It damages career prospects, takes a toll on the bank account, and history won't remember much about the club, much less the name.
When Rayo underwent two consecutive relegations, three players stuck with the team from the first division to the third. Right-back Mario Gómez, center-back Diego Mainz and goalkeeper Sergio Segura - all youth graduates.
When in 2004 Rayo had reached the Segunda B, Diego Mainz started for the club for three seasons before leaving for Albacete in the second division. Mario Gómez started for one season before leaving for Segunda outfit Elche…

Positives from the Cádiz game? No. (13th March, 2017)

Zero.

Rayo had zero shots on goal. None. Zilch. Na-da.
Meanwhile, Cádiz had a shot cleared off the line, a misplaced back-pass that should've gone in but was miraculously saved by Paulo Gazzaniga, and a deserved goal scored after a through ball that split the defense while at the same time nutmegging Antonio Amaya - and that was just the first 36 minutes.
They then also hit the post and generally expose Rayo time and again, while Cádiz's goalkeeper made zero saves - 37-year-old Alberto Cifuentes barely moved the whole game.
With this result, Rayo are now 21st out of 22 teams, joint-bottom, and just generally out of ideas. Creating chances isn't the problem - Rayo and Cádiz both had nine shots. The problem is when Patrick Ebert, the attacking midfielder, is shooting from 25+ yards while Manucho barely even tries to make a run. In a 2 vs 3 situation. 
Pablo Clavería came on for Trashorras at half-time, with Jordi Gómez being replaced by Miku, essentially playing with five a…