Winning beyond the gusts… Girona top La Liga after beating Barça

Girona are no longer the team to beat, they’re the team to beat.

Girona has reclaimed the top spot in La Liga after overturning Spain’s most prestigious club, FC Barcelona.

Girona beat FC Barcelona 4-2 away in the 16th round of the 2023-2024 La Liga season on Nov. 11.

Girona’s unbeaten run of eight games (seven wins, one draw), including two consecutive victories, has seen them drop Real Madrid to second place (39 points) and return to the top of the table (41 points) after three games.

Girona are not a household name among their domestic fans.

Only promoted to La Liga for the first time in 2017, Girona was a “nothing” team that was relegated again and competed in the second division for three seasons starting in 2019. Their highest ever finish was 10th in La Liga last season.

Among Korean fans, Girona was only known as the team that Baek Seung-ho (Jeonbuk Hyundai) once played for.

But Girona’s form this season has been frightening.

After drawing with Real Sociedad in the opening round, they went on a six-game winning streak from the second to the seventh round.

A 0-3 defeat against Real Madrid in the eighth round seemed to halt their momentum.

Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid (third), and Barcelona (fourth), who are categorized as La Liga’s “big three,” are all at Girona’s feet.

If Girona maintain their current form, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they could replicate Leicester City’s 2015-2016 English Premier League ‘title fairytale’ in La Liga.

Mitchell’s leadership is one of the first factors in their favor.

Mitchell is a ‘promotion specialist’, having overseen the promotion of Rayo Vallecano in 2018 and Huesca in 2020.

However, at both clubs, he was sacked for underperformance in their first season of promotion.

His recklessly attack-minded style of football was criticized as not working in La Liga.

But he stuck to his guns at Girona, where he took over in 2021.

After guiding Girona to promotion to La Liga in his first year, Mitchell continued to play attacking football in La Liga.

After scoring 58 goals last season, the fifth-highest total, to finish 10th, Girona have scored 38 goals this season, the most of any of the 20 La Liga teams.

Credit must also be given to the Girona club for backing Mitchell’s adventurous style of play for three years.

Girona’s ‘parent’ company, City Football Group, is also in the spotlight.

Girona became part of City Football Group in 2017, which was founded by Manchester City (England) owner Sheikh Mansour, giving the club better access to funding and players.

In particular, Ukrainian striker Artem Doubik, who joined the team ahead of the season, has been playing well, tied for fourth in the league’s scoring charts with eight goals.

He was also responsible for Girona’s opening goal. 토토사이트


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