The 2022-23 LaLiga season is well and truly underway with eight weeks of domestic football having already been played.
Fortunately for us, the international break in October gives us the perfect chance to take a look at the three promoted clubs from last season’s Segunda División that replaced Levante, Deportivo Alavés, and Granada.
UD Almería, Valladolid, and Girona earned back their place on the Spanish top flight, and they will get to tangle with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, and other LaLiga heavyweights.
From Andalusia, we head to Castile and León as we feature the purple-clad side that are back after a season away from the Primera.
How did they get here?
Heading into the final day of the 2021-22 season, Pacheta’s men were never thought that they would be on a three-way horse race for the two promotion spots, especially when they were lounging in the playoff slots after round 19.
A good 22-match stretch, which includes an 11-game unbeaten run (eight wins, three draws), saw them come close to within two points behind Almería and Eibar. This sets them up a final matchday meeting against mid-tabled Huesca at home, while praying the other results go in their favor.
The Pucela registered a 3-0 win in their José Zorrilla turf, thanks to goals by Shon Weissman, Gonzalo Plata, and Álvaro Aguado. Coupled by Eibar’s shock defeat against already-relegated Alcorcón, Real Valladolid saw their immediate return to the top flight, a year after being relegated.
Key player: Shon Weissman
The Israeli international knows how immense the pressure is wearing the number nine shirt, as it is synonymous to none other than the phenomenal Ronaldo, who is the current owner of the club.
Coming from Austria’s Wolfsberger, Weismann scored six of his seven goals at LaLiga in Valladolid’s ill-fated campaign in 2020. However, it was in their Segunda tenure the following season where he blossomed, firing in 20 goals. As a result, Ronaldo had to bike for 500 kilometers in the iconic Camino de Santiago route to fulfill a promise.
So far, he has only scored once, with fellow forward Sergio León leading with two. But there is still much time for Weissman to polish his scoring boots.
Their season so far
Valladolid’s promising preseason (in which they only lost once) did not convert into instant results once LaLiga began.
Currently, they are the highest among the three promoted clubs with eight points. The trio are bundled between 13th and 15th on the table.
They lost four out of their eight matches to date, two of which were heartbreakers in the final minute. Nevertheless, they have picked up huge victories at the expense of Almería and Getafe.
With 30 more matches to go, it is safe to say that survival will be the key for them to retain their LaLiga status, one fixture at a time.