Once again, the La Liga title race was a matter of two, and Barcelona – the betting online favorite – had no trouble meeting expectations. However, the race to qualify for UEFA competitions was much closer. The same happened with the race to avoid relegation since things didn’t settle until the last fixture.
When Pep Guardiola coached Barcelona, the club won it all. Xavi Hernandez, the current manager, was a midfielder in that team, a very good one. He must have learned a lot, right? Yes and no.
Barcelona regained the La Liga throne after finishing atop the standings with 88 points, 10 more than Real Madrid. They also finished as the second top-scoring team with 70 goals, five less than Real Madrid. Finally, they finished with the top defensive unit after only conceding 20 goals in 38 games.
Barcelona won a lot of games by only one goal. With Guardiola, they used to crush their opponents. Another huge difference is that they used to win possession all the time. With Hernandez, that’s no longer a trend.
As expected, Robert Lewandowski won the Golden Boot with 23 goals. He was followed by Karim Benzema from Real Madrid with 19, but his victory was never in danger.
The season was also very special since it was the last for Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. Both won it all with the team but decided to take on new challenges, with the Saudi Arabian league offering astronomical contracts to veteran players.
Also as expected, Real Madrid finished second. Los Blancos went all in on the UEFA Champions League but lost in the semifinals. They ended up winning the Copa del Rey, defeating Osasuna 2-1 in the final after eliminating Barcelona in the semifinals.
Atletico Madrid finished third thanks to Antoine Griezmann, who had an awesome season. The Frenchman scored 15 goals and finished with 16 assists. No other player in the league had more assists than him.
Another team that will represent La Liga in the UCL is Real Sociedad. The club finished fourth with 71 points and boasting the third-best defensive unit. This will be their first time playing in the UCL since the 2013-14 season.
Finally, despite finishing 12th, Sevilla will also play in the UCL after winning the UEFA Europa League, defeating AS Roma in the Grand Finale. Speaking of the UEL, Villarreal and Real Betis managed to qualify after finishing fifth and sixth. Both will be among the favorites in the La Liga lines to win it.
Finally, Osasuna went beyond expectations by qualifying for the UEFA Conference League. They finished seventh thanks to a 2-1 victory over Girona in the last fixture.
If it weren’t for the UEL title, Sevilla’s season would have been a complete failure. The club finished 12th, only scoring 47 goals. Even Almeria, the team that finished 17th, scored more.
Athletic Bilbao also failed to meet expectations. They wanted to at least qualify for the Conference League but finished eighth, winning only one of their last five matches.
I’m also including Valencia, a team that has played in the UCL final. The club finished 16th, only two points away from the relegation zone. They only scored 42 goals. Two of the four teams that finished behind them ended up scoring more.
Last but not least, we have Valladolid, Espanyol and Elche, the three teams that finished in the relegation zone. Valladolid could have turned things around with a victory over Getafe in the last fixture, but the match ended with a goalless draw.
Espanyol also had some chances, but they only won one of their last five games. The team failed to avoid relegation despite having one of the league’s top scorers in Joselu, who finished with 16 goals. The good news for the striker is that many teams have asked about him, including Real Madrid.
As for Elche, they never stood a chance, finishing 15 points behind 17th place. They only won five games and scored 30 goals. You can’t expect a better result with those numbers.