This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
When Cádiz won promotion to La Liga by finishing second in the Second Division last season, hardly anyone cared. They had not been seen in the top flight since 2006 and were surely it will just go down.
And yet here we are, 12 games into the season, and Cádiz is pretty much in fifth place after beating both Real Madrid and Barcelona. Fans have had no choice but to notice.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about these new giant killers.
Before this season, Cádiz had spent only 11 years in Spain’s top flight, and had never managed to finish above 12th.
Ten of those seasons came between 1981 and 1993, but after relegation, they didn’t return to La Liga until 2005.
Cádiz could not survive in the top flight and they were quickly sent to pack. Things got even worse when they were relegated to third tier in 2008, and they were still there in 2016.
In search of the firepower necessary to survive in La Liga, Cádiz came out and brought in a man with a lot of experience from all over Europe, Álvaro Negredo.
The 35-year-old arrived for free from Dubai-based Al Nasr, with a record 111 goals in 264 La Liga appearances with Almería, Sevilla and Valencia, and has scored three goals in his first nine games with him. Cadiz.
He’s only on a one-year deal, but will see his contract automatically extended if he continues to impress.
What has made Cádiz so enjoyable this season is that their team doesn’t exactly present very obvious top-tier quality.
Former Real Madrid player on loan from Reading, Alex Fernández, pulls the strings in midfield, while the summer signings of Álvaro Giménez and Choco Lozano have impressed since they moved in.
There aren’t many other prominent names on the Cádiz squad, but one player who can ring a bell is 21-year-old winger Bobby Adekanye, who left Liverpool in 2019 and is currently on loan from Lazio.
Manager Álvaro Cervera is a versatile boss who is never afraid to adapt his tactics to counter the threat of a specific opponent, but his livelihood is 4-4-2.
They love to defend in depth and overload midfield in an attempt to regain possession, before counterattacking with real electricity and causing trouble for their opponents.
Cervera’s side attacks on the wings, using side overloads to get the ball into Negredo’s area, whose aerial dexterity is perfect for the system.
For a team that likes crosses and long balls, it should come as no surprise to learn that they love free kicks and corner kicks.
Last season, 24% of his 50 goals in the league came from set pieces, so it’s not just something Cervera uses in hopes of securing a resounding victory. He sees a real dead ball opportunity and makes sure his team spends a lot of time developing new routines.
Center-backs Fali and Juan Cala love attacking in the air, and adding Negredo has only increased Cádiz’s options.
For more thanTom gott, follow him onTwitter!