With 19 games gone, we’re now halfway through the La Liga season. Therefore, it’s a good time to grade the collectives and individuals of this domestic course so far.
Best team: Real Sociedad
Objectively, the best obviously are Barça and Real Madrid, table-toppers with 40 points. Subjectively, though, the side I enjoy the most watching is La Real. They thrive in different contexts, both through possession and with spaces, and, while they lack a bit of consistency as they are 5th, their peaks of football are incredibly high.
In terms of pure quality, points obtained and entertainment, the best team would otherwise be Madrid.
Surprising team: Granada
While they have moved from more to less as the weeks have gone by, they already have 8 wins, are 10th and are the best of the 3 newly-promoted sides. Compact, intense and dangerous in the offensive phase, they always are a hard nut to crack. From pressing high to defending deep, everything they do denotes a great tactical work from Diego Martínez.
Disappointing team: Celta
After the homecoming of Rafinha, Denis and Santi Mina, this promised to be a good season for the Celestes. In reality, they haven’t shooed away the fears of relegation that terrified them a year ago. They are 17th, with the same points as 18th-placed Mallorca.
Other disappointments have been Espanyol, at the bottom after the exits of Rubi, Borja Iglesias and Hermoso, and Betis, who are 13th in spite of huge additions in the summer.
Best player: Martin Ødegaard
Excluding Leo, for me Ødegaard and Benzema have been the best 2 footballers of this Spanish top flight season. I chose the 21-year-old because he’s the personality and difference-maker in this exciting Real Sociedad. I could have named him the breakthrough player too, but he was already sensational at Vitesse and now he has been showing that he can be as unique in the elite as well.
Breakthrough player: Fede Valverde
We’re only in January and he already has more than 230 more minutes in this La Liga term than in the last one. With 2 goals and 3 assists, he has made himself an undroppable under Zidane, even above Modrić. Worth mentioning Osasuna’s Chimy Ávila too.