With the international break, the Primera may take a break, but not the Segunda División. The big matches this weekend are (Saturday) Sporting Gijon v Rayo Vallecano, while on Monday Cádiz host Huesca.
Rayo have caught fire with five wins and a draw in their last six, and are undefeated in their last 10. They’re riding the hot hand--er, foot—of Real Madrid loanee Raúl de Tomás (18 goals), while Oscar Trejo has chipped in with nine after signing on a free from Toulouse.
Villarreal connection: Chechu Dorado. The oft-injured defender (in the Primera, at least) has featured in 28 of Rayo’s 31 matches and is a linchpin of their defense.
Huesca have led for most of the season, but are now tied on 57 points with Rayo, after a dismal spell of three losses and two draws in their last five matches (before that, they were undefeated in 10). The problem for them is they have started to give up goals in bunches, and their attack isn’t good enough to overcome that. They have a star to watch—for the moment—in Juan Hernandez, an 18 year-old Colombian striker on loan from Watford (11 goals), and young midfielder Gonzalo Melero (12 goals) is attracting attention as well.
Villarreal connection: Moi Gomez. He hasn’t played much after joining midseason from Gijon, though.
Cadíz are next on 54 points; they had a great run of six shutout wins on a row in November and December, but since then their form has been inconsistent. They don’t score much (33 goals), but their 18 allowed is best in the division by far. Not bad for a team with a 38 year-old ‘keeper (Alberto Cifuentes).
Villarreal connection: No players, but Cadíz also lay claim to the “Yellow Submarine” nickname.
Sporting Gijón: The Asturian side are on 52 points after a big win at Huesca. Malaga loanee Michael Santos leads their attack with 15 goals (how the boquerones could have used him this season). Big props to guys like Roberto Canella and Carlos Carmona, who have stayed with Sporting through relegation and are now trying to get them back.
Villarreal connection: Diego Mariño. He’s played well for a defense that is second-best in goals allowed.
Worth mentioning Zaragoza are on a hot streak (6 straight wins) and striker Borja Iglesias is turning some heads. 15 goals in the Segunda, after 34 (!) last season for Celta’s B team in the Segunda B. He came up in the Valencia youth system and played for Villarreal C in the Tercera in 2012-13, scoring 11 goals before moving on to Celta. Anyone remember him?
At the bottom: Leonesa 32; Cordoba 31 (these two might be able to get out of danger, with four teams between 35 and 37 points). Lorca (19) and Sevilla Atletico (16) are done for.