Familiar signs point to familiar La Liga turbulence for Zaragoza

Zaragoza’s 6-0 annihilation at the hands of Real Madrid asked more questions than it answered, both for the competitiveness of La Liga as a competition and of Zaragoza as a team.

For La Primera, such a scoreline and performance is being held up as the latest to illustrate an increasing divide between Real Madrid and Barcelona and the rest of the League – an issue further exacerbated by Barcelona’s 5-0 victory over Villarreal on Monday night. The result’s effect on Zaragoza meanwhile, has been one of questioning. The club’s ambitions for the season are under scrutiny and not for the first time.

To find the beginning of this period of turmoil, it is best to look back at the 2009-10 season. Zaragoza had returned to La Liga after a solitary campaign in the Segunda Division but found themselves struggling back in the top-flight. Ahead of the January transfer window, Zaragoza looked deflated and staring the drop to the Segunda straight in the face, spending a total of seven consecutive weeks in the relegation zone.

A new Coach, Jose Aurelio Gay, was brought in to replace Marcelino Garcia Toral, and a vigorous transfer window ensued for the Aragonese club as they looked to overhaul the squad. A total of eight players were brought in, including Brazilian defender Edmilson, Czech midfielder Jiri Jarosik, Recreativo striker Adrian Colunga and Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez.

The players acquired differed greatly in impact but somehow managed to pull off what looked beyond them at the half-way point of the campaign to secure safety with a 14th place finish, a position that without context would not allude to having endured such a difficult campaign.

Last season saw Zaragoza again flirt heavily with relegation once more, spending 22 weeks in the drop-zone, including a 17-week consecutive streak. Another change of Coach resulted mid-season, with Javier Aguirre coming in. The team’s fortunes improved with the new man in charge but they remained battling relegation and going into the final matchday sat in 18th place. A 2-1 away victory at an already-safe Levante ensured their survival and a final placing of 13th, similar to the previous season’s final standing.

Determined to not endure a repeat of last season’s stressful campaign, and in light of an increasingly dire financial situation, Los Ma

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