All you need to know about Liga Adelante (Segunda Division)
Summer break, with the forthcoming season ahead, is a good time for some analysis, both of the past season, as well as of the forthcoming one. In this article you can find all the important information about Liga Adelante (the Spanish second league), from the history of the league, through the summary of the last season, ending on the predictions for the incoming one.
The history of the league
La Liga Adelante (Second Division) is the lower tier of the two professional football leagues in Spain. It was created in 1929 by the Royal Spanish Football Federation. Since 1983 it is organized by LFP (Liga de Fútbol Profesional). From the last season (2016/17), the name of the league was changed back to Segunda Division, because of the Sponsorship Deal with Santander. The first championship went to Sevilla FC, now one of the leading teams in Primera Division, as well as in Europe.
Afterwards, the title was won by CD Alavés and Valencia FC. However, the team with the biggest number of trophies is Real Murcia CF, winning 8 titles (last one in 2002/2003). Now the team does not have such luck and plays in Segunda Division B (3rd League). Real Betis Balompié is near this result, winning this competition 7 times (last time in 2014/2015 and since then playing in Primera Division).
The league is one of the biggest in Europe, being an arena for 22 teams, who played in 42 regular matches. Last season saw the immediate comeback of two teams relegated from La Liga a season before– Levante (winning the title) and Getafe (ending on the 3rd place) Levante, located in Valencia, actually outclassed their rivals, ending the season 14 points ahead of the second Girona, which is a really impressive result and 16 points ahead of the aforementioned Getafe.
Third of the relegated teams, Rayo Vallecano went underachieving, finishing 12th with no chances of going back to Primera Division. One of the overachievers were for sure Girona, who won promotion quite smoothly, having scored the biggest number of goals – 65, as well as Tenerife (referring slowly to their rich traditions) and Huesca (having not the most acknowledged, but solid, passionate players in their squad). 4 teams (from places 19 to 22) were relegated and these were UCAM Murcia, Mallorca, Elche and Mirandes. After the regular season, we had also promotion play-offs for teams from 3rd to 6th place, comprising respectively Getafe, Tenerife, Cadiz and Huesca. The two-legged final saw the rivalry between Getafe and Tenerife, in which Getafe eventually won 3-2 in aggregate.
Few words about the Champions
Levante UD (the full name is Levante Unión Deportiva, S.A.D.) is a team of a very rich traditions, rooting back to 1909 and the club’s foundation, ten years before their biggest rivals – Valencia CF. The team plays at Estadio Ciudad del Valencia (accomodating 26,354 fans). Levante had in its history many notable players and coaches, enough to mention Keylor Navas, Arouna Kone, Jefferson Montero, Felipe Caicedo and Bernd Schuster or Gianni de Biasi among the managers. Last season before relegation, they also had in their squad such stars as Giuseppe Rossi or Vicente Iborra. Ending the 15/16 competition on the last place and being relegated a few weeks before the end of the season was for sure a blow for all related with the club.
However, thanks to their wise management, they were able to maintain some of the important, prospective players, enhancing the team with some new faces, from which the most impressive turned out to be Jefferson Lerma (talented Colombian), Jose Campana (from Sampdoria) and Esteban Saviljech (from Argentinian Racing Club). They had also in their team the league’s second best striker – Roger – who ended the season with 22 goals scored. But most importantly, they owe their final victory thanks to a solid defensive and an impressive goalkeeper – Raul Fernandez, which together conceded only 32 goals in 42 matches. Fernandez, himself won the Zamora Trophy for the best goalkeeper (conceded 22 goals in 33 matches). Summing up, Levante won the title with an impressive 25 wins, 9 draws and only 8 matches lost, scoring 57 goals and conceding 32 (25 goals difference).
Predictions for the next season
As usual, the candidates for the final success are among the teams who were relegated from the upper league (La Liga). That is Sporting Gijon, Osasuna Pamplona and Granada CF. Their teams, especially Gijon, have also the highest market value of the players (Gijon is being valued at 34 mln euro). As for now, only Osasuna has weakened their team a bit, selling one of their best players, prospective Alex Berenguer to Torino, earning however 5.5 mln euro.
However, they have bought for i.e. Aridane Hernandez, a solid defender from Cadiz, paying 1.5 mln euro. On the other side, we have four expansion teams, Cultural Leonesa, Albacete Balompié, Lorca FC and Barcelona B (reserves of the first team, like Sevilla Atletico). Among other fore-runners, we shall mention also Tenerife and Cadiz, who were both close to win the promotion in the last season and the sleeping giants from Valladolid, who would also like to advert to their history of La Liga performances.
16/17 season - For many, one of the most exciting parts of the football world. Among the loudest transfers last season we had i.e. Ikechukwu Uche, who was transferred to Gimanstic from Mexican Tigres, Igor Lichnovsky (the young Chilean) from FC Porto to Valladolid, Razvan Popa and Macky Bagnack to Zaragoza (respectively from Inter Milan and Nantes FC), Rajko Brezancic and Alvaro Vadillo to Huesca (respectively from Alkmaar and Betis) or Nano, who went from Panathinaikos to Almeria.
Some of the players also left their clubs for some bigger challenges, i.e Mohamed Fatau from Almeria to Granada, Florian Lejeune and Jairo (both from Girona) to respectively Eibar and Espanyol Barcelona, Florin Andone from Cordoba to Deportivo La Coruna or Borja Valle from Oviedo also to La Coruna. We observed also Portugal as a popular transfer destination, having the examples of young and talented Bruno Varela from Valladolid to Setubal, another Portuguese player – Bebe, from Rayo Vallecano to Benfica Lisbon, Nabil Ghilas from Levante to FC Porto.
17/18 season - As for this transfer window, we have not observed many moves, however there are a few interesting already. It is quite clear that Granada will like to come back to La Liga as soon as possible, buying Moila Wague, Darwin Machis and Javi Varas (respectively from Leicester City, Leganes and Las Palmas), they did not managed to keep their stars, like the Goalkeeper Guilhermo Ochoa (went to Malaga), Artem Kravets (back to Dinamo Kiev) or Panagiotis Kone (Udinese FC).
Also Gijon has big aspirations, which are confirmed by the transfers of Rachid Aït-Atmane or Alvaro Bustos (respectively from Tenerife and Mirandes). Among the players, who left them we have Duje Cop (to Cagliari) and Elderson Echiejile (to Sivasspor). Zaragoza is, as for now, the most active team, signing in 10 players, like Oliver Buff or Abraham. Among other interesting transfers, we have for example Otar Kabakadze from Danish Esbjerg to Gimnastic Tarragona, Johan Mojica from Girona to Rayo Vallecano from Rayo to Levski Sofia.
Last Season in numbers
Liga Adelante Table
For some fans, statistics are the most important aspect along with all the comparisons, percentage shares and numbers. If you are one of them, then this section shall appeal to you. The most important data is of course Liga Adelante table. The last season winner was Levante with 84 points, 14 points ahead of Girona and 16 points ahead of Getafe. The next places were reserved for Tenerife, Cadiz and Huesca. The last 4 teams, relegated to Segunda Division B, were UCAM Murcia, Mallorca, Elche and Mirandes. Three teams earned 50 points, being only 2 points ahead of the 19th team, first from the relegated ones. These were Zaragoza, Numancia and Alcorcon (respectively 16th, 17th and 18th).
The best attacking/defensive formations
Girona (2nd at the end of the competition) ended the season with an impressive amount of 65 goals (1.55 per game). That’s two goals more than Getafe (ending 3rd), who had an average of 1.37 goals per game. Third was Levante with their 57 goals (1.36 per game). On the end of this ranking we have Reus with only 31 goals (0.73 goals per game) and Alcorcon – 32 goals (0.76 goals per game). Reus was a disciplined and solid team, which scored the lowest number of goals, as well as conceded the smallest amount, having let their opponents to score only 29 goals. This is an amazing result in 42 matches (accounting for 0.69 goals per match).
Next one is Levante with 32 goals in 42 meetings (0.76 per match) and Tenerife with 37 goals. On the other side, we have two relegated teams – Mirandes and Elche, having conceded respectively 66 and 63 goals. 66 goals in 42 matches stands for quite an infamous 1.57 goal per game.
Bunch of other team statistics
Some of the teams like to control the rhythm of the game, having the ball in their possession. Other prefer to play counterattacks. Last season Lugo noted the highest average possession. They ended the season with an impressive 54.86%. Next we have Rayo Vallecano (53.52%) and Mallorca (51.90%) On the end of the ranking we have Cadiz with 44%. Not without reason, Girona ended the season with the highest amount of goals, having threatened the opposite goalies with 456 shots – 10.86 per match, from which 194 (4.62 per game) went on goal. Alcorcon was the team with the lowest number of shots – only 7.29 per game (2.77 shots on goal/game).
Gimnastic Tarragona was the most aggressively playing team, earning 138 yellow and 11 red cards (respectively 3.29 and 0.26 per game). Just behind them we have Huesca, with the same amount of yellow cards, however only 6 red ones.
Having said a bit about Liga Adelante Standings for the teams, now let’s have a look at individual achievements. Liga Adelante’s top scorer in the season 16/17 was Joselu, from Lugo, with the impressive amount of 23 goals in 40 matches. He surprised everyone with his amazing form, especially compared to the previous season, when he scored only 6 goals in 37 matches. This season score was almost a half of his team goals (Lugo had 49).
On the second place we have Roger from the champions – Levante – with his 22 goals (out of 57 scored by Levante). Two of the players ended the season with 21 goals. These were Dominguez from Zaragoza and Molina from Getafe. Dominguez, however played in a smaller number of matches, therefore being classified as the 3rd one here. The top 5 is ended by Alfredo Ortuno from Cadiz with his 17 goals.
Most brutal ones
Below you will find out who leads in the infamous ranking of the most brutal players. The unfortunate leader of the ranking is Jorge Garcia Morcello, Almeria’s defender with 17 yellow cards (however no red one). Just behind him there is Marcelo Silva, known also from MLS competition, also with 17 yellow cards and no red one. The third place is reserved to Sergio Tejera from Tarragona, a young 23-old midfielder, who earned 16 yellow and 1 red cards last season.
Summing up a bit the competition, last year we saw the domination of Levante and their storming performance, which led them to the title. There was a fierce rivalry behind them between Girona, Getafe, Tenerife and other teams.
This season the scenario might be similar with one of the three sides, Granada, Osasuna and Gijon fighting for the highest goals. However, it is hard to judge at this point, as there still quite a long transfer window ahead and many interesting moves can be done. For sure it is worth to check regularly the league situation, monitoring the transfers, friendly matches and then all the regular season’s statistics.
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