Can Girona Still Beat the Odds and Win La Liga?

In the most surprising fashion, an underdog rose beyond candid expectations in La Liga this season, writing headlines, taking out the breathe from supporters and just slipping comfortably into Champions League slots without the presence of too many glamorous players in their ranks.

Girona currently sits five points behind table toppers, Real Madrid, coming this far in the racks of hurdles propelled at them this season. In the process, they are opening the eyes of many towards a potential chance of creating an “Underdog-to-glory” scenario, as it happened with Leicester City in the Premier League eight years ago.

A season which is rapidly approaching its latter stages raises questions about Girona’s contending status, especially after their recent annihilation in the hands of Los Blancos. Do they have enough steam to go for it all? Can they actually win it or will it end as another big “could have” story in football?

Girona’s Rise to Contending Status

In Girona’s history of gaining promotion into the Spanish league, their current showing has been their best yet, having 56 points in 24 match days, sitting behind Real Madrid with two points and ahead of Catalan counterparts FC Barcelona with six points.

Clearly far off relegation spots or a mid-table finish, Girona are set for their most productive season yet in LaLiga as before now, they had only managed to climb as high as 10th position in the last 20 years. Creating a sense of surprise in the recruitments made into the team this season and their immediate rise from underdogs into contenders – recruitments which were not flashy and primarily involved loan deals.

Of all additions made into the club, the acquisition of Ukrainian striker Artem Dovbyk from Dnipro-1 has been the most glaring to football fans as he’s been a constant force to the opponents with his impeccable goal conversion rate. Posing on the list of top scorers in the league, scoring 14 and providing five assists.

Bar the surprising boom of Artem Dovbyk, fellow Ukrainian forward, Viktor Tsigankov, Brazilian youngster, Savio and veteran, Christian Stuani, have also inspired the team to a myriad of breathtaking displays in attack this season.

Loanees have also risen to the fort with the likes of Savio, Eric Garcia, Yan Couto and Pablo Torre proving to their parent clubs that with the right amount of minutes in a season, they can achieve with the team.

Girona vs Traditional La Liga Teams

Perhaps the biggest headache for any team aspiring for success in La Liga are the three top teams in the league, already accustomed to the taste of winning the league and the feeling that follows it. These clubs – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid – are not just contenders domestically, but also at continental and international level, winning as many trophies as possible among themselves.

It is not surprising that although Girona are having a blast this season, they still find themselves amidst these clubs. Real Madrid in first place with 61 points, Barcelona in third place with 50 points and Atlético Madrid in fourth with 48 points. Predators true and true who have suffered in multiple aspects of their seasons.

Atletico Madrid struggling to gel at the start of the season, putting up various inconsistent performances, capping it all with a 4-3 defeat in the hands of season rivals, Girona. Barcelona started the season on a high, good performances, decent number of clean sheets until a 2 – 1 defeat in El Clásico changed the narrative, striving to get goals and squandering as many attempts, before also falling flat at home to Girona in a 4-2 battering.

The brightest of the usual threesome-fearsome still being Real Madrid. Although, it has not been the most enjoyable season for Carlo Ancelotti’s men as they had started suffering from injuries even before the season commenced. First team goalie, Thibaut Courtois, star defenders, David Alaba and Éder Militão, ruled out for long-terms and possibly until the next season. Of all three clubs, Madrid remain the only one with the solidity to soldier on devoid of all wranglings surrounding their season.

Girona’s absence from other competitions like the Champions League, Europa and Europa Conference League, may just leave them with an edge of more firing power when they come up against the traditional teams in the return legs. However, with Real Madrid crashing them back into reality after beating them across both La Liga fixtures this season, it leaves us wondering: will other top teams retaliate, fully aware of the threats posed by Girona?

Can Girona Still Win The League?

The concept of a league system is the most unique medium to quantify consistency. With the right level of mentality into 38 matches, the winner is determined by the team that can maintain its composure and tug it out with others on their feet until the end. Winning a league takes more good performances than winning a competition and Girona has shown that this season.

Should they continue on that trajectory, given that their most direct rivals have other commitments in Europe, overruling their chances of pulling out more rabbits from the bag will be underestimating their might.

One thing football has taught us about competitions: if you do not berate anyone, anything can happen. The snoozing party can always end up the losing party and clubs will want to prepare for matches against Girona with the right level of confidence. The answer to that question now lies in Girona’s ability to turn a bad spell around.

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