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Espanyol 2015 – 2016 Prospects: Can They Land a Top-Five Spot in the Spanish La Liga?

Five games into the 2015 – 2016 La Liga season, RCD Espanyol are skirting the top five. Typically, we don’t expect this particular football club to push into the top tier of the Spanish top-flight. After all, Espanyol’s Parakeets have never won a La Liga title. Their biggest success in Spanish football has been in the Copa del Rey, which they’ve won four times. The most recent of those victories came in 2006, against Real Zaragoza. But could that be about to change? We analyze the Espanyol 2015 – 2016 prospects, and ask can they secure a top-five La Liga placing?

Espanyol’s Recent History

Bottom line, Espanyol are no Barcelona or Real Madrid when it comes to Spanish soccer prestige. They
also haven’t made much of an impression in the La Liga for the past decade. Indeed, last season, the Parakeets only won seven games total, finishing in 10th on the league standings table. That performance was still an improvement over the soccer club’s 2012, 2013, and 2014 finishes, which were all in the 13th or 14th positions.

In fact, the last time Espanyol landed in the top five was the 2004 – 2005 season. That year, the football club strung together a record of 17 wins, 10 draws, and 11 losses, finishing the season with a point total of 60. They still finished 24 points off the leaders (FC Barcelona) and 20 off the runners-up (Real Madrid) but were only five points back from Villarreal, who finished third.

Chasing a Top-Tier Finish

Can Espanyol sweep back into fifth place for the first time in more than 10 years?

Obviously, it’s too early in the season to predict where the Parakeets might land when all has been said and done. While they are in sixth place after five games, Espanyol have had something of a mixed bag Espanyol 2015 - 2016 Prospects Getafeseason so far this fall.

At the moment, the Parakeets have three wins and two losses to their name. Their goal difference is perhaps the least impressive part of their current stats rundown, at -5. Espanyol’s major loss against Real Madrid in week three—a 0-5 match where Cristiano Ronaldo scored five goals is the primary reason for the poor goal difference rating.

In other matches, though, the Parakeets have played pretty solid football. In week one, players donned the Espanyol home shirt 2015 – 2016 for a home match against Getafe and walked away with a 1-0 win. It was a narrow margin of victory, and Getafe dominated Espanyol in terms of possession (68 to 32). However, the home team was in the driver’s seat for most of the match nevertheless, thanks to a goal at the three-minute mark from midfielder Salva Sevilla.

Taking the Lead Early

Had Espanyol’s defense been similarly on-point for a week two match against Villarreal, then their ranking in the 2015 – 2016 La Liga would be even better. Again, the Parakeets took the lead early on, with a five-minute goal from forward Felipe Caicedo. They held that lead through the first half and well into the second, but couldn’t quite make it to the end of the match. Villarreal equalized the score at the 67-Espanyol 2015 - 2016 Prospects Valenciaminute mark and then scored two additional goals in the final minutes of the match to win the game 3-1.

The “taking the lead early” strategy also helped Espanyol score a 1-0 victory against Valencia on September 22nd. They netted a point at the 18-minute mark (courtesy of defender Victor Alvarez) and defended it all the way to a 1-0 victory.

In fact, a September 19th away match at Real Sociedad was the only time this season that the Parakeets scored goals outside of the first 20 minutes of play. In that football fixture, Real Sociedad took the early lead, and Espanyol had to come from behind to win the match. Indeed, Espanyol’s Hernan Perez had to score a goal at the 90-minute mark to give his soccer club a 3-2 win in the match.

Will Espanyol’s “attack early, defend later” strategy continue to serve the soccer squad well as the 2015 – 2016 season moves forward? Or is it more likely that the football club drops down to the middle of the pack in the La Liga standings?