Giuliano Simeone (att) Atlético Madrid; Rafa Marín (def) Real Madrid; Ander Guevara (mid) Real Sociedad; Abdallahi Mahmoud (mid) NK Istra – end of loan;
Víctor Laguardia (sp) (def) Retired; Toni Moya (r) (mid) Real Zaragoza; Jason (sp) (mid) Arouca; Asier Villalibre (r) (att) Athletic Club – end of loan; Anderson Arroyo (sp) (def) Liverpool – end of loan; Rober González (sp) (mid) Real Betis – end of loan;
Alaves may have needed the playoffs to secure a bounce-back promotion, but they were consistently one of the best teams in Spain’s second division last season. Across the entire regular season, they were never lower than fifth.
They then entered the playoffs and seemed to be heading for disappointment away at Levante in the second leg of the final. But, a 129th minute penalty, converted by Asier Villalibre, saw Alaves snatch promotion.
Now, they’re back in the top tier after just one year away and have a good structure in place. Luis Garcia Plaza knows the division well, while the Alaves squad contains a good mix of youth and experience.
The retirement of captain Victor Laguardia may have a slight impact, but he already wasn’t playing much last season. Even without the veteran centre-back, Alaves put up strong defensive numbers last term and that should be the foundation of their efforts to stay up.
Where they need to improve is in attack, as they averaged just 1.1 goals per game last term. They’re looking to strengthen in attack in the transfer market ahead of the new season.
Survival. Having just come up, and having only managed to do so through the playoffs, Alavés are the weakest team in the competition on paper and that makes staying up the only objective.