SD Eibar 15/16 Prediction – 19th
La Liga’s smallest club are, to the surprise of many, preparing for their second La Liga season in their history, following their promotion two seasons ago. Written off at the start of the season as certain relegation candidates, Eibar did indeed finish in the relegation places, struggling to an 18th placed finish with just 9 wins. However after the season ended, 13th-placed Elche CF were sent to the second tier as punishment for financial mismanagement, and Eibar were reinstated.
Last seasons first ever appearance in La Liga was a season of optimism. Having seen their club rise through the leagues to reach the top tier, Eibar fans were hopeful of a season to solidify their status and defy expectations. They got off to a dream start with a home victory against Real Sociedad, La Real the first of many teams to underestimate the minnows at the start of the season. Eibar’s form in the first half of the season was good, earning some impressive draws and enough wins to keep them in a mid table position. Their form slumped in the second half of the season however, 10 games without a win saw them slip towards the relegation zone. A draw and a win in the last 2 games of the season was enough to lift them above Almeria into 18th place though, meaning they were the team reinstated following Elche’s demotion.
It goes without saying then, that Eibar’s target this season will be to secure their La Liga status for a third season, preferably on their own terms this time. Eibar have been busy in the transfer market in order to give themselves the best chance, signing 7 new players. With a limited budget however, the majority of manager José Luis Mendilibar’s dealings have been free transfers or loan deals. Aston Villa left back Antonio Luna and Sergi Enrich look to be two new recruits that could make an impact at their new club.
Even with their new signings, remaining in La Liga will be a difficult task. Their form in the first half of the season will give fans optimism, but now that their status as unknown quantity has been lost, another season finishing in the relegation places seems inevitable.