The Story So Far!


Just over 3 weeks have passed since the start of the season and its been a mixed start for Espanyol. Tipped as one of the favourites in Division 5 expectations have been high for the Spaniards. Being transfer banned at the start of the season made it difficult but Earle was quick to make changes as soon as possible. Results have varied across competitions and appear as followed.

Preseason.
A shockingly poor preseason saw Espanyol register 1 draw and 4 losses with no wins. Early losses to Bordeaux and Cologne left the squad scrambled. However, an impressive and unexpected 1-1 draw to Arsenal looked as though it would change their fortunes but  they were quickly sent back to reality by Celtic who beat them comfortably. The last fixture saw them face fellow Division 5 side Augsburg which was their best chance for a win, this didn’t happen. Another poor performance saw Espanyol fall to the Germans and with no confidence entering the new season.

League.

Benjamin MOUKANDJO Photo
3 goals, 2 assists

Heading into the league with no momentum and no wins fans were unsure what to expect against West Brom but a goal from outbound Leonardo Pavoletti after just 5 minutes changed their hearts. The lead was cut, however, and the game ended 1-1 for a point to start the season. Next was Standard Liege who were 2-0 within 20 minutes. Despite another goal from Leonardo Pavoletti the Spaniards couldn’t pull back and ended as the losing side. A Spanish derby followed with Espanyol facing former Division 4 rivals Celta Vigo. A slow start to the game saw the game level for the first half hour but a surprising goal for Ragnar Klavan saw the game kick off. Jose Reyes then made it 2-0 before half time. Within seconds of the second half Edin Visca scored to pretty much seal the game. The game ended 3-1 following a late goal from Antonio Cassano which was too late for a comeback. This marked first win of the season and seemingly a changing point for the team. Following the win the squad travelled to Belgium to face Twente. A very slow first half left a few slightly disappointed, but 4 minutes into the second half Twente gave away a penalty which was tucked away calmly by veteran striker Claudio Pizarro. 15 minutes later another surprise goal from defender, Ragnar Klavan made it 2-0 which was held until full time. With momentum behind them Espanyol then headed to Russia to match up with Rubin Kazan. Another Claudio Pizarro penalty saw the Spanish side take the lead after 26 minutes. Kazan then equalised and the game looked to be heading to a half time draw, however a late first half goal from Ricky Alvarez sent the Spaniards in ahead at the break. New signing Abdoulaye Doucoure came on off the bench and scored his first goal within 2 minuted to seal a third win in a row for Espanyol. With a string of form beginning to form Espanyol took on a strong Bremen. A poor start saw the Germans take an early lead before Edin Visca equalised. Bremen then took the lead again just before half time. Midway through the second half Nathan Redmond made it 2-2 with his first goal of the season. Neither team could claim the win and the game finished a draw. League leaders Dynamo Kyiv were the next opponents for the Spaniard who were looking to carry on their form. An incredible first half saw Earles most expensive signing, Benjamin Moukandjo, run riot scoring his hat trick in just over 30 minutes. With a 3 goal buffer the game slowed until Kyiv scored back in the 73rd minute, however, any hopes of a comeback were cut out by Nathan Redmond scoring for the second week in a row. Despite another late goal from Kyiv the Spaniard ran out winners and are now sat 2nd in the table. Anderlech are next up for Espanyol in the league.

Champions cup and Youth cup.
With low expectations in both competitions the second and youth teams have been very poor. With two games in each cup already played no wind have been registered. The Championship team have conceded 10 goals in their 2 games and scored only 2. Similarly the youth side have also only scored 2 and have conceded 7. It’s tough to see how the squads can turn this around but the championship team will face Augsburg tomorrow after beating them today in the shield.

Domestic Cup and Shield.
A tough first round draw in the cup saw Espanyol fall as 2-0 losers to Manchester City. However, with Augsburg in the shield, it offered a real opportunity to progress. This opportunity was taken with a 3-1 win thanks to goals from Salvador Agra, Fernando Bob and Sandro Wagner. Liverpool will be their opponents in round 2.

Stand out players.

Claudio PIZARRO Photo
2 goals, 5 assists

Striking duo Claudio Pizarro and Benjamin Moukandjo have both been outstanding so far. With 5 goals and 7 assists in 10 games between them they are one of the most threatening partnerships in the Division at the moment. Edin Visca has provided 2 goals and 2 assists off the wing while Nathan Redomond has contributed the same off the bench. Ragnar Klavan has also been very good offering solidity in defence but also providing an unexpected source of goals with 2 so far. Ricky Alvarez may not have the goals or assists but has played a solid play making role in the centre.

If this league form continues, promotion is a real possibility. Earle will hope his key players can continue to produce top performances and push for a top finish.

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