Seeking Solace in Statistics


The other day I read that our current four-game skid is the worst in two years, and then that Manzano felt we are not at this point touching bottom, and that got me wondering–how bad IS our current situation, historically speaking? After a few hours of internet digging (and discovering this handy tool from the official Liga page), I made some graphs for us to pore over. If it’s not obvious, what we’re looking at here is a graph of club position vs. week in season. At first I was just wondering how our place in the table has looked throughout the year in recent seasons, but then I got curious about how that compared to other teams. I chose what I think have been and continue to be our most dangerous and consistent competition for third place (when we’re in that competition ourselves), and tracked each team’s progress over the last decade. As you might guess, this post is going to get long, so let’s tuck it away:


Here’s last year’s results…not much to say because we just lived this. Atleti paid for their Europa success with their poor showing in La Liga, where they and Villarreal struggled all year and spent a lot of time in the bottom half of the table.


This is sort of what I imagine is the most common Liga finish–the four of us in some order between 3rd and 6th. Sevilla had a good year, never going lower than 5th after week 8. Interestingly, this is the only time in the last decade this has happened.


Here we are in 07-08 in 14th place after 14 weeks. This is our reference point for where we are now, then. Although this season we were certainly hurting in the early stages, we pulled it together and finished 6th. It’s not CL spots, but we stayed in Europe. Also note: Valencia’s total crash at the end of the season.


Our best year. First in Liga at 25 weeks, finished in CL spots. Never lower than 4th all year. Villarreal needed a heroic late-season surge to finish 5th.






*–Atleti was in Adelante (or whatever they called it at the time) this year.


Notes: Our current season certainly isn’t our worst ever or in the last 10 years, but you won’t find another 4 week space in the last decade where we dropped in the table every week. This is a very complicated and colorful way to point out that winning games is better than losing them, but hopefully this has been helpful in getting some perspective on this year’s situation.


I intended to make a few more observations about the other teams and our own performance in the past, but this took a lot longer than I thought it would, so I will leave the hardcore analysis to you guys. Let’s see who can make the most enlightening observation! Ready…go!