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A11_Smithy added a topic: Championship table at end of season looking odd?

Can Espanyol ever catch up to their neighbours?

Discussion
https://sortitoutsi.net/uploads/team/1725.png


The old line 'Always the bridesmaid, Never the bride' has been banded about a lot down the years, however it certainly seems apt in the case of poor old RCD Espanyol; They hold the unhappy record of having played the most seasons in the Spanish top flight without actually having taken the crown, the highest finish Los blanc-i-blaus have achieved is third place on three occasions, though you need to go back thirty years for the last time that happened.
Perennially in the shadows of neighbours FC Barcelona, the Catalan derby is the most played match in Spanish football, however Barca have dominated the fixture, winning almost 60% of the clubs 162 meetings. RCD only finishing the season above of their illustrious neighbours three times in seventy years of La Liga football.

Surely after so many years of being second best, Los blanc-i-blaus's time will come, can I be the man to finally help this old traditional club out of Barca's shadows and deliver what many Espanyol supporters went their whole life without seeing, RCD holding the league title?

Obviously that won't be easy and isn't going to happen streight away so I've set myself some short term targets to work towards whilst I build a squad capable of taking on Barca, and indeed Real and Atletico Madrid over the course of a season;

Short/Mid Term Objectives

  • Beat Barcelona, as often as possible!
  • Qualify for Europa League
  • Win The Copa-del-Rey

  • Long Term
  • Achieve the club's highest ever finish (above third)
  • Qualify for Champions League for the first time
  • Win Espanyol's first league title.

  • http://laaficion.milenio.com/Hector-Moreno-pelea-balon-Messi_MILIMA20140329_0156_30.jpg

    Good to see you're back in the careers section @Rick87. Best of luck with this.
    Good to see you're back in the careers section @Rick87. Best of luck with this.

    Thanks Shedender.

    Day One
    https://sortitoutsi.net/uploads/team/1725.png


    First things first, I had a good look at the playing staff available to me, I have to say I'm impressed by the potential in the squad, this group of players should certainly be challenging for a Europa League spot in my opinion;
    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/2_zps8s24qbnp.png

    I like to have two good quality options for each position which, with the exception of a left footed centre back I do have right from the off so there will be no need for drastic changes to the squad provided I can fend off interest in some of my star players this summer.

    Jose Antonio Reyes should be familiar to all the Arsenal fans on here, he's beginning to get on in age now, however he is still very good with the ball at his feet, currently my plan is to utilise him as a trequartista behind the main striker.
    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/5_zpspsldyclq.png


    Who could well be this man...
    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/3_zpsw6cnocez.png

    Gerard is a quality striker who should bag plenty of goals for me this season, though he has stiff competition for the lone striker role from Ecuador international Felipe Caicedo who has been globe trotting through Russia and the Gulf states since a ill fated spell with Manchester City a decade ago.

    There seems to be a lot of interest in my young wing back Ruben Duarte;
    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/4_zpsxivebqo3.png

    Liverpool, FC Porto, Leicester City and Bayer Leverkusen are all reportedly interested in signing the twenty year old so it seems unlikely I'll be able to hold on to him, still hopefully we can fetch a decent price with future fees attached.

    To begin with I have the team set up in a 4-2-3-1 with the aforementioned Reyes being the creative mechanism behind the striker and the two wingers making runs either side of him. Javi Fuego and David Lopez will stay deep and protect the defence whilst the wing-backs surge forward to support the attack.
    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/6_zpsortppm0n.png


    The press forecast us a ninth place finish, I wouldn't be too upset with that for my first season in charge, though I am hoping we can make the top six and thus Europa League qualification.
    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/1_zpsntylrhwo.png
    Well done dude, I look forward to seeing more !
    https://sortitoutsi.net/uploads/team/1725.png
    July/August 2016


    I am reasonably happy with my squad and am reluctant to make too many changes without having had six months or so to assess everybody properly, so there is only one new addition to the team this summer;
    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/3_zpswfusxvnq.png

    Segio joins us on a season long loan from Valencia, he will serve as a rotation option at the back to give me options tactically.

    Pre-season was a mixed bag of results;
    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/5_zpssitdndxx.png

    A credible win over Emmanuel Adebeyor's Basaksehir side had the gloss taken off by failing to beat Tercera division Europa despite having a near full strength team out. A heavy defeat at the hands of Juventus was always on the cards but I was hoping we could have won the other fixtures to build up for our first fixture, a trip to the Nou Camp on the opening day is probably not the ideal way to make your managerial debut...

    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/2_zpsjeijejgx.jpg

    We were quite simply outclassed by our arch-rivals, my players didn't even perform too badly and gave Barca a battle in midfield and going forward but just had no answer to the quality of Messi and Suarez's finishing. After going two down I threw caution to the wind and decided to drop our counter attacking approach and go for it, however this backfired and Barca were able to pick us apart with clinical precision on the break.
    Losing 5-0 to our biggest rivals was certainly not the best start to my Espanyol tenure, however it did serve as a wake up call as to the scale of the job I'm going to have to do to turn Los blanc-i-blaus into a side that can challenge the likes of Barca and Real for the title.

    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/1_zps348fuaf9.jpg

    I was bitterly disappointed not to have picked up the win in this one, Osasuna are a team we really ought to be able to overcome if we are to achieve my ambition of a Europa League spot, we were the better team, enjoying more possession and chances on goal but were unable to finish off the Pamplona club. Still after getting humped 5-0 in the previous fixture, perhaps a draw isn't the end of the world.

    The league table doesn't meen anything after two games, but it still doesn't make very good reading for us;
    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/4_zpse7o6xm3x.png


    Still, onward and upwards, we had a poor opening day for sure, but there it was just one game, with the players still adapting to my tactics it could take a little while longer before everything clicks into place for us on the pitch but I'm confident that it will all work out eventually.

    http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/app/uploads/2016/01/messi.jpg
    Even our attempts at WWE wrestling came up short against Barca
    https://sortitoutsi.net/uploads/team/1725.png
    September 2016


    A much improved month as we picked up ten points to see us climb the league table with some decent football on show;

    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/1_zpshbya8fpj.png

    An ill tempered match in which the referee handed out cards like confetti, I must admit I feared the worse when Moreno missed a first half penalty, however he made up for it by putting us ahead just after the break with a nice turn and finish. Midfielder David Lopez doubled our advantage just before the hour with a stunning 28 yard freekick which wound up winning the goal of the month award.
    Deportivo did buck up their ideas and threatened a comeback in the latter stages, Gael Kakuta's 87th minute tap in was my prompt to shut up shop and bring on another holding player to see out the result.

    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/2_zpseitumawg.png

    A disappointing game from our perspective, Twice we rallied after falling behind to get quick equalisers, following the second we seemed firmly in control and I fancied us to go on and bag a winner, however it was not to be as Jese escaped his marker to give Las Palmas all three points despite our desperate efforts to get a third equaliser

    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/3_zpsngrxhra4.png

    A close run game in which both teams had good chances to win but weren't able to take one. In the end a draw was probably the right result.

    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/4_zpsx2f2iehl.png

    Back to winning way as I noticed my tactical changes over the last couple of months really begin to click into place, Felipe Caicedo bagged his first of the season with a well placed finish to steak his claim for a regular starting place as I rested Gerard Moreno. I was very pleased with the manner of this victory as we held onto possession well and didn't give Celta much in our own half. All in all a professional job.

    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/5_zpswes4k2rn.png

    Another pleasing win, two goals in two minutes set us on our way, it was great to see Jose Antonio Reyes net his first Espanyol goal, the former Arsenal man has been difficult to get right tactically, I tried him as an trequarstisa but he appeared to struggle in that role, he's now in a more static engnache role, making himself available for passes in the attacking half and using his technique to carve out opportunities for the striker and two wingers either side of him.
    Betis got a goal back early in the second half and threatened a come back though we still looked very dangerous on the break so it was to nobodies surprise when Moreno finished Betis off late off with his second of the season.

    So we're unbeaten in three games going into October, we'll need that momentum as October looks like a tough month as we face Villareal, Malaga, Real Madrid and Gijon. Currently we are just outside the European places in seventh though almost everybody else in the division has a game in hand over us.
    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/6_zps0nuw77oq.png

    [/color]

    http://d1abj31dnwl5uq.cloudfront.net/imatges/55/80/alta/780_0008_5580813_f3bcc43f58d8d8d8352c9b53891ce609.jpg
    https://sortitoutsi.net/uploads/team/1725.png
    October 2016


    The October international break made this month a fairly short one which included just four fixtures;

    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/1_zpsl3rv5kof.png

    A good hard fought victory against a competitive Villarreal side who gave us a tough game, this exactly the sort of game which we need to be able to grind out wins in if we are to achieve my ambition of a place in the Europa League next season so I'm very pleased we were able to do so.

    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/2_zpsjusmelzu.png

    Malaga have started the season slowly and find themselves struggling in the bottom three, I'm certain they won't be there come May, but given their situation this really was a game we ought to be taking maximum points from, and for 88 minutes it very much looked as if we would do so, however a last gasp strike from Camacho robbed us of two points, much to my frustration.

    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/3_zpsjtf9b3dc.png

    My first meeting with Los Blancos was a competitive one, as you might expect the visitors enjoyed most of the possession and could have won comfortably had they displayed the same level of clinical finishing that Barca had when we met them on the opening day, however thanks to some quality defending, goalkeeping and just a hint of fortune we stayed in the game and ended up giving Zinedine Zidane's side a battle, Felipe Caicedo had a glorious chance to equalise in the second half as Pepe sold Keylor Navas short with a back pass, allowing Caicedo to pick up the ball clean through on goal, unfortunately the Ecuadorian international only managed to shoot straight at Navas. In the end Real deserved the win but I did take some positives from the performance.

    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/4_zpsaibwqdm5.png

    After Real ended our seven match unbeaten run it was important to pick ourselves up and get back on track as soon as possible, during the first half against Gijon that didn't look like happening at all as Sporting had the better of the play and looked good value for the 1-0 lead at the break. I voiced my displeasure to my troops in no uncertain terms in the dressing room, my rousing words worked a treat as they went out and equalised almost instantly as wingback Aaron Martin reacted to a goalmouth scramble following a corner to smash home his first goal of the season. Midfielder David Lopez belted home a 25-yard strike to move us ahead before striker Gerard Moreno made sure of the result with a quick fire brace.
    I was pleased with this comeback, also the passion and determination my players displayed in kicking Gijon off the park, collecting seven yellow cards in the process but I don't mind them getting stuck in whatsoever.

    http://i1319.photobucket.com/albums/t675/rick871/5_zpsfux1nlxl.png

    So we're still seventh and in good form going into November which only holds three La Liga fixtures, we take on relegation embattled Leganes and Eibar either side of a tough game with Bilbao. We also take on Betis in the first leg of our Copa del Rey tie.
    Solid start to the campaign @Rick87. KIU.
    Good start mate, not getting too disgraced by the big boys so far.
    http://i.imgur.com/ZiZpv0k.png?1



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