Girona stars to exits following La Liga relegation

Real Madrid v Girona

Girona could suffer a double blow following their relegation from La Liga, with the top flight’s side circling for their key players.

Eusebio Sacristan, who has since been fired, as unable to stem the tide as the Catalan side’s poor form dragged them deeper into danger, with rivals Celta Vigo and Villarreal heading in the opposition direction.

With their two-season stint in La Liga, Girona are now preparing for life in the Segunda Division. A task made harder by the lack of a first team manager, and the potential that their key players could also be on the way out.

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La Liga Best XI – Week 8

navarroEstadi Montilivi was the place to be seen in La Liga this past weekend, with Girona losing at home against Eibar in a five-goal thriller. Brazilian forward Charles had given the visitors the lead from the penalty spot, before two goals from Cristhian Stuani late in the first half briefly turned the game in the hosts’ favour. Anaitz Arbilla levelled up deep into injury time, before a second half goal from Sergi Enrich allowed the guests to leapfrog Girona in the table, shooting up to 12th. Elsewhere, Alaves recorded a hugely impressive 1-0 home win over Real Madrid, while Barcelona were held at Valencia. Let’s take a look, then, at the best XI from La Liga from the eighth round of games!

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La Liga Best XI – Week 4

gayaThis past weekend saw Barcelona move two points clear at the top of La Liga following their tight 2-1 win at Real Sociedad, with Real Madrid having dropped points, their 1-1 at Athletic Bilbao ending their 100% start to the campaign. With that in mind, let us now take a look at which players performed best in their respective roles, with a 4-3-3 formation coming this week!

GK – Jaume (Valencia)
Jaume was one of several goalkeepers to keep clean sheets this weekend, but as he would only set you back 2.5m on the Euro Fantasy League game he was the cheapest of the bunch. Solid display in Valencia’s 0-0 home draw with Real Betis.

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Girona shows signs of life with Celta win


Girona recorded their second win of the La Liga season, with a 3-2 victory over Celta Vigo on Monday night.

The Catalan side played out a dire 0-0 draw against Real Valladolid on the opening day, before losing at home to Real Madrid.

Those results had cast doubts over the ability of new manager Eusebio Sacristan to match the 10th place finish achieved by Pablo Machin in 2017-18.

However the former Real Sociedad boss rallied his players following the defeat to Real, and they picked up their first win of the season away, at Villarreal on August 31st.

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Girona set for final Europa League push

girona-mojica As the La Liga season nears its conclusion, attention turns to who will finish where, with real focus on the battle to secure a European qualification spot.

The top four in La Liga has essentially been sown up by Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Valencia, who have a 12-point cushion.

In the Europa League qualifying places, Villarreal (5th) and Sevilla (6th) look set to finish the season strongly.

Currently occupying 7th place, is Girona, who are enjoying an incredible debut season in the top flight. Continue reading

Cristhian Stuani leading Girona’s Europa League charge


From the substitute’s bench at Middlesbrough, Uruguay international Cristhian Stuani could be celebrating Girona’s highest ever league finish at the end of the season.

Girona were promoted to the Spanish top flight for the first time in their 85 year history after finishing second in the Segunda Division last season.

Over the summer they underwent a key financial restructuring process, with the Manchester City-backed City Football Group buying a 44.3% stake in the club, with the remainder held by the Girona Football Group – led by Pere Guardiola, brother of Pep.

That investment gave the club the necessary financial support to develop a squad capable of competing in La Liga.

Manager Pablo Machin, who guided the club to promotion, selected his transfer targets carefully – bringing in veteran goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz from Athletic Bilbao, and Stuani and Colombian defender Bernardo from Middlesbrough.

Alongside these new faces, Machin also brought in Pablo Maffeo and Aleix Garcia on loan from their new friends at Manchester City.

However despite their new deal with mega money City, it has been a man not so fondly remembered on Teeside that is making the difference.

Stuani was signed for Middlesbrough by Aitor Karanka in July 2015, however his start to life at the Riverside Stadium was a slow one – with just six league goals before Christmas.

Despite ‘Boro achieving promotion in 2015/16, he ended the campaign with a total of seven Championship goals, with doubts over his ability to perform in the Premier League.

To some extent this was to be borne true, as he managed just five goals in the top flight last season, as ‘Boro were relegated.

Given the doubts over his adaptability to English football, a summer offer from Girona was quickly accepted by all parties, and Stuani was on his way back to Catalonia- having played for Espanyol between 2012 and 2015.

Whilst Girona have received plaudits for their results this season, Machin keeps his tactics relatively simple, which has benefitted Stuani greatly.

Defensively they have conceded just thirty goals all season, just two and three goals more than Valencia and Real Madrid respectively, and this solidity has allowed their attack to grow in confidence.

So often the problem with newly promoted sides is their ability to score goals in the top flight, and in Stuani, Girona have found their man.

Structurally the side is built on pace in wide areas, quality deliveries and direct play in the final third, all of which plays into the powerful Uruguayan’s hands.

He is comfortable playing as a lone front man when Machin looks to play a more cautious approach against the bigger sides, but crucially he has discovered the knack of being ruthless in front of goal in key moments.

Chances are few and far between for sides finding their feet, and ability to put the ball in the net eases relegation worries – and can allow can club to dream, just as they have at Girona.

The Catalan side are currently eighth, one point away from a Europa League qualification spot, and thoughts are looking upwards instead of down.

They face La Liga leaders Barcelona this weekend, but from then on they only face two of the top five before the end of the season – Real Madrid (who they have already beaten this season) and Valencia.

They face their main rival for seventh place, Eibar, in their penultimate game of the season, and with 13-goal Stuani in red hot form they could overhaul the Basque club.

VIDEO: Arsenal’s new dawn and seven reasons to invest in Juventus

Newly transferred players are already starting to show their worth so to cover this and some of the weekend’s biggest fixtures, Nicholas Carroll provides this week’s Euro Fantasy League preview.

The Premier League kicks off this week with a clash between two fierce London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, the latter of whom has so far enjoyed their invigorated squad.

After slotting home seven goals last week, Juventus will be looking to continue their red-hot form away to Fiorentina as they look to keep the pressure on Serie A leaders Napoli. Continue reading