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25.10.2008 09:30

Almeria is taking on that difficult second season in style

Jordi Clos

Last time round Almeria was the surprise team of the year, and in their first season in the top flight they didn’t drop below tenth in the whole of the second half of the campaign.

In the end they came eighth, and aside from good results also impressed with the way they played good football.

They say that the toughest thing to do after an excellent season when no-one expected anything of you is to keep up the level in the following campaign. Almeria aim to do just that by sticking to the philosophy that has brought them success so far. Firstly they hired Gonzalo Arconada as a manager who is very similar to his predecessor Unai Emery. They have also continued with a policy of signing new international talent, especially from South America; the cash they got from selling Felipe Melo was reinvested in promising newcomers like Michel Macedo, Piatti and Nieto.

Almeria retains the core of its old side

_MG_3279.JPGDespite eight new signings, Almeria still retains the core of its old side. In goal Diego Alves is a safe pair of hands, while out wide there are solid attacking players in Bruno and José Ortiz on the right and Mané and Corona on the left. The centre of the defence is where Arconada has brought in most new talent and new signings Chico and Pellerano have been regulars. The manager rings more changes in midfield, though Julio Álvarez and Juanito have had most game time so far. Up front Negredo is the man who scores the goals.

A good start

KQ2E8069_copia.jpgHis five strikes so far this season have helped Almeria to get off to a good start. A spectacular day one win at San Mamés (1-3) has been followed by two more victories, two draws and a defeat. A good base from which to attack what some call the Everest of the League, consecutive games against Seville, Barça, Madrid and Villarreal, and which many teams are finding hard to climb. So far Almeria is no exception, having gone down 0-1 at Seville, yet nonetheless they come to the Camp Nou in a very commendable sixth place.
Photos: UD Almeria
Photos: UD Almeria
The manager: Gonzalo Arconada
Like his predecessor, Unai Emery, Arconada is one of a bunch of young managers who are making a name for themselves in the First Division. He made his debut in the 2005/06 season when he took over at Reial Societat. After getting promotion at Numància, Gonzalo Arconada now faces the challenge of consolidating Almeria in the top flight.

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