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A great Piti performance, a great Javi Guerra performance and bit part players (28th April, 2017)

I found it interesting going through past games and highlighting individual performances - so here's more of them...

It’s 2012, Paco Jémez’s first season in charge and it’s a mess. Three wins and a draw from nine games leave them in 15th place.

Meanwhile, Málaga had lost just once in that same period, were 12 places above in the league table, were playing in the Champions League and hadn’t dropped a single point.

A team that contained Demichelis, Joaquín, Isco, Saviola, Camacho and Jesús Gámez, were beaten at home by a team that had cost a total of €0 to assemble.

The win was symbolic of a huge change in fortunes – Málaga were winless in their next four fixtures and Rayo were on the ascendancy, finishing in a record 8th place with a record 53 points – only to be cruelly denied a Europa League place due to financial difficulties.

If you really want to understand Piti's impact on Rayo's 2012-13 season, just watch this game. It's not just that he scores both goals, it's that he dictates play, dribbles past players with ease, and makes poacher-esque runs.



Incredible.



The 2015-16 La Liga season saw Javi Guerra score 12 goals - and many of them are great. His goal to equalize against Sevilla (here). Or his goal against Real Sociedad (here). Or his performance against Espanyol (here). And many, many more.

But digging deeper into his history, I found that Javi Guerra scored 15 goals out of Valladolid's team total of 38 in the 2013-14 season, which ended with a team relegation and a pre-contract move to Cardiff City.

In a home game against Celta Vigo, he would score all three of his team's goals.

Check this out:



Notice how each of those goals comes from amazing, almost ridiculous assists - the first from Patrick Ebert, the second from Carlos Peña, the third from Óscar González.

Just goes to show how good service and a great striker can combine to deadly effect.



Many players come to Rayo - loanees in need for development, journeymen in need for a big contract, prospects who need to reignite the spark that made them worthy of hype - become successful in Vallecas and leave for bigger and better things.

And yet, this season, there are players who aren't even getting a chance.

In terms of loanees, Gazzaniga has played the most minutes in the squad, and to be fair Íñiguez has been injured for a long time. But Tomás Mejías has played zero minutes since arriving in January, Bruno Zuculini played nine games before returning in January, Franco Cristaldo has also played just nine games and last played in February.

And even permanent signings such as Toni Dovale and Jordi Gómez are consistently on the bench.

It's not that I'm complaining - it's just unusual to see so many players not getting minutes. Especially after four years of Paco where rotation after every game was almost guaranteed.

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