Season in Review: Rayo Vallecano skid towards survival amid stormy weather

Season in Review: Rayo Vallecano skid towards survival amid stormy weather
Season in Review: Rayo Vallecano skid towards survival amid stormy weather

Position: 17th – 38 points

Grade: C-

Record: 8-14-16
Goals Scored: 29
Goals Conceded: 48


Top Scorer: Alvaro Garcia – 6

Top Assister: Unai Lopez – 3


Story of the season

The first season after Andoni Iraola was always going to be tricky and so it proved. Rayo went into it with Francisco, and trying not to tinker with a working machine, their start was reasonably good. While that has lasted until spring under Iraola, it didn’t get to winter this time around.

A run of just one win in 18 games put paid to Francisco’s job, and the arrival of Inigo Perez did nt signal many more goals in all honesty. Cycling through Sergio Camello, Raul de Tomas and occasionally Radamel Falcao, no matter the setup, they could not find goals – the trio combined for 10 between them.

Perez did solidify things at the back somewhat, and late wins over Osasuna, Real Betis and Granada meant safety. It’d be too generous to say that they had hit on a formula though, rather they battled, and Rayo survived.


Grade Explanation

The problem with Rayo is clearly goals. Second-lowest scorers in the division, their defence is not too bad, but when you cannot score, it cranks the pressure up on the backline even more. Neither Perez nor Francisco got a spark out of RDT, a goalscoring touch out of Camello, or, unsurprisingly, managed to take 10 years off Falcao.

Finishing the season, Rayo stayed up which is the most important part. The reality is that they did so because it was one of the worst bottom threes in recent history, and they will have to be much better next season. It’s not unfair to say they need to start afresh in preseason and find new answers, even if they still have some quality players.


Standout moment: Any one of three draws with Barcelona and Real Madrid. Against the Catalans they felt like the Rayo of old, fierce and relentless. They were also one of only two sides to stop Real Madrid scoring all season.

Key player: Oscar Valentin – Rayo might not be controlling games, but Valentin gets through bundles of work, and holds the fort together.

Surprise of the season: This is genuinely tough to find – Abdul Mumin? The Ghanaian defender playing well was the best partner Florian Lejuene.


Glass half full

Can it get worse in front of goal? You have to feel that confidence must rise in front of goal, and if Rayo do either inspire one of their current options, or find a new number nine, then Rayo will automatically be a much better team. They still have creativity and quality in Jorge de Frutos, Isi Palazon, Alvaro Garcia and Oscar Trejo behind them.

Perez will also have a summer to put in place what he wants to, rather than just simply grind out what they needed. Rayo are not a squad full of stars, but they are capable of more.

Glass half empty

Perhaps the big worry is the transfer market. If somebody poaches a key piece like Garcia or Valentin, it could be very hard to replace them. Sporting Director David Cobeno has done a good job in recent years, but there are certain areas of concern. Isi, Ivan Balliu, Garcia, Lejeune, Trejo, the core are ageing, and Stole Dimitrievski is also leaving.