Huesca making waves on La Liga debut


La Liga always possessed a fantasic ability to present new teams to follow, away from the leading lights of the Spanish top flight, and so far this season it has been all about Huesca.

The side from a small city in the community of Aragon, with smallest stadium ever to play in La Liga, has laid down an unbeaten marker in their first ever top tier games.

An opening day 2-1 win away at Eibar caused plenty to sit up and take notice of the newly promoted side, but a 2-2 draw in Week Two at Athletic Bilbao has really raised a few eyebrows.

Ahead of starting life in the top flight, they have spent the second lowest amount on transfers this summer, at just under £3 million, with only fellow new boys Real Valladolid spending less.

This frugal approach by manager Leo Franco, has seen fees paid for just two of the five players signed permanently, and seven loan signings.

Although the long term merits of having so many players on loan deals at the club is still up for debate, they have already fused a tactical cohesion and a shared mentality of pushing the club as far as possible.

Franco has highlighted the key areas that needed to be strengthened, in order to compete in La Liga.

In defence he has recruited veteran Portuguese defender Luisinho from Deportivo, and Villarreal’s Ruben Semedo, alongside Xavier Etxeita, from Athletic Bilbao, to add experience and leadership to the back line.

With the vital aspect of defence addressed, Franco has also utilised the market cleverly to bring in forward players with a point to prove.

Perpetual loanee Samuele Longo has joined from Inter Milan, the ninth loan of his career, after an impressive two seasons with Girona and Tenrife in the Segunda, and he will be relishing a crack at top flight football for the first time since 2015.

Alongside him have arguably been Huesca’s two stand out players so far, Alex Gallar – one of the few players to keep his place after coming up with Huesca – who netted twice against Eibar.

There is also Juan Camilo Hernandez, on loan from Watford, who Franco persuaded to rejoin the club after finishing a top scorer last season as they clinched promotion.

The familiarity of Hernandez, Gallar and midfielder Gonzalo Melero, gives a spine to the side, which has played the market well ahead of the season.

Franco has been keen to play down expectations so far, but the early signs point to a run similar to that of Girona in 2017-18 and Eibar the season before.
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