With the month of July coming to a close, August is approaching and that means the new European football season is coming home. So here is another team you may want to keep on eye this season from Spain - CD Leganés.
Nicknamed Los Pepineros (The Cucumber growers), they have the second smallest stadium in the league holding around 12,000 people, only lowered by Eibar's stadium of 7,000. The team from Madrid also have one of three non-Spanish managers in the league with former Southampton manager, Argentine Mauricio Pellegrino at the helm.
Leganés had a solid season last season, finishing in 13th place and 8 points from relegation, with a slightly better win percentage than Pellegrino had at the Saints, earning him a new 2 year contract.
The season featured some some highlights including not losing to Real Madrid and Barcelona at home, and even beating the latter 2-1 in September, as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the Copa Del Rey (Spanish Cup). It was the best season of top flight football for the club, after two 17th placed finishes in their last two campaigns in La Liga.
Despite these two highlights, one thing Pellegrino will need to work on is their goal-scoring. They had the joint worst goal scoring record in the league alongside relegated Girona with 37 goals all season with their top scorer in the league Youssef En-Nesyri scoring only 9 goals.
Creating chances was not the problem as they averaged 11 shots per game but few of them turned into goals, meaning finishing practice is needed. On the other hand defensively they had a solid season under Pellegrino. Only four teams can boast a better defence than Leganés last season, including Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, all thanks to the tactical flexibility of Pellegrino switching from 5 at the back to just the 3 quite regularly during the season.
The team have also bolstered up front with the permanent signing of Martin Braithwaite. The former Toulouse and Middlesborough man, who was on loan last season and scored 5 goals last season. They have also signed Juan Muñoz who scored 13 goals in 37 games for second division side AD Alcorcón. The hope is that he can replicate that kind of form in the top tier and help the team finish off the chances, they did not last season.
Leganés may not be your typical Spanish team with the flair, possession and free-flowing attacking game you associate with the teams such as Barcelona and Real Madrid but they are a solid unit with a proven manager in La Liga in Pellegrino. If they just grab a few more goals and continue their defensive solidity, they could easily end up in the top half and could challenge for Europe as the surprise package of the league, just as local rivals Getafe did last season.
However if Pellegrino cannot get his team scoring and their defensive stability disappears, his job may go as well as Leganes's status in the Spanish top flight.Published 29 Jul 2019, 19:32 IST