La Liga Bottlers

February 11, 2018 | Posted in: Uncategorized

It's been a couple of weeks since the Serie A Bottlers article so let's love on and take a look at La Liga and see which sides have underwhelmed their fans more than any other.  The result may surprise you.

All the stats for this article are taken from the 2012/13 season onwards and would not have been possible without the existence of sites like Football-Data. WikiPedia and have also been used as sources of data.  As a big fan of all 3 sites I highly recommend you check them out.

8. Atletico Madrid (Bottled 43 games since 2012/13)

atl madrid, football, soccer, atletico madrid, a madrid

With just one manager (Diego Simeone) during the whole period I take for a review, there can be no doubt which manager has been responsible for losing 43 out of the 164 games that they have started as favourites.

Atletico Madrid have built an impressive team under Diego Simeone, they've also been under a recent transfer ban which delayed a few signings by a number of months.  Perhaps if that ban hadn't been in place then Atletico Madrid would have a better record and someone else may have this spot in the list.

With a very low percentage of bottled games (26.22%) Atletico Madrid actually have a good record in games where they started out as favourites.  Let's not let facts get in the way of a good story though.


Malaga v Atletico Madrid

7. Barcelona (Bottled 43 games since 2012/13)

Barcelona may have lost 43 games that they started as favourites but they actually started out as the bookies choice to win a game on 189 occasions.  No-one else beats that and only Real Madrid come close.

The 22.75% of games lost is actually the lowest on this list so Barcelona fans are probably extremely happy with their side.

They should be, with 3 league titles, 3 Copa del Rey's, 3 Spanish SuperCup wins, 1 UEFA Super Cup and a Champions League win, all since the start of the 2012/13 season.

Another title win is very much on the cards this season and I don't expect that "bottled" number to go up drastically any time soon.

6. Athletic Bilbao (Bottled 44 games since 2012/13)

Athletic Bilbao are a very interesting club.  They have a transfer policy of only signing players that are "native to or trained in football in the greater Basque Country " (thanks Wiki).

That policy does, of course, hold them back and they haven't won a league title since 1984.  They did win the Spanish Supercup in 2015 though, only the second time in their history that was achieved.

Perhaps because of their transfer policy, Athletic Bilbao have an excellent academy system and they've brought through a number of players that have impressed after moves to "bigger" clubs.  Javi Martinez is probably the best known of these players but those of us that are a bit older can remember the classy Joseba Etxeberria.

Iker Williams has been attracting a lot of admiring glances over recent years and he could be the next to go.

5. Villarreal (Bottled 44 games since 2012/13)

Like Athletic Bilbao, Villarreal have lost 44 of the games they started as favourites.  The reason that Villarreal are rated as bigger bottlers is because of their loss percentage.  Instead of Bilbao's 41.12%, Villarreal have lost 42.72% of the games where the market rated them as the "team most likely".

Currently sitting in 5th place in the Liga table, Villarreal are a good example of a side that works well despite not having any real stars.

Manager Javier Calleja hasn't been in charge long but he's already making a mark on senior football having worked his way up from youth and B team manager.  If he carries on like this, he's going to be headhunted by larger clubs and Villarreal may be looking for their 5th manager since 2012.

4. Real Madrid (Bottled 50 games since 2012/13)

Real Madrid, R Madrid, football, soccer

With the third lowest percentage (behind Barcelona and Atletico Madrid) there's no real shame being featured on this list for regular favourites Real Madrid.

There have been a few occasions this season where we've seen Real Madrid bottle it and you can pretty much guarantee there will be a big shake up of both playing and managerial staff in the summer.  With it being a World Cup year, you could place money on the summers biggest star ending up in Madrid.

Second only to Barcelona, Real Madrid have started the game as favourites on 184 occasions, testament to how highly rated they have been since the beginning of the 2012/13 season.

3. Sevilla (Bottled 58 games since 2012/13)

Sevilla have a bit of a chequered recent history with their managers.  They started the 2013/13 season with Michel in chrge of the club but he was gone in January, to be replaced by Unai Emery who did a great job. 

When he left the club in 2016 he was replaced by Jorge Sampaoli who did such a good job he was headhunted for the post of Argentinian National Team Manager.

Fellow Argentine Eduardo Berizzo took over but he didn't see out the year as Vincenzo Montella took over right at the end of 2017.

Montella hasn't had an easy start and losing to city rivals Real Betis will definitely be the low point of his time at the club so far but he has guided them through to the final of the Copa del Rey so maybe, just maybe, this manager will see out the season.

2. Valencia (Bottled 58 games since 2012/13)


Valencia have had a few rough seasons and the start to their time under owner Peter Lim has been beset by bad managerial choices and a lack of overall investment.

Current manager Marcelino seems to be a keeper though and with a decent squad of players they have to be looking to qualify for the Champions League next season.

What they'll be able to achieve then is anyone's guess, especially as they could have lost a couple of kep players by then.  Goncalo Guedes has been excellent for them this season but he's only on loan from PSG, central midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia is in the same boat but at least Valencia have an agreed price set for him with his parent club Inter Milan.

It'll be fun to see how this one goes.

1. Real Sociedad (Bottled 59 games since 2012/13)

The biggest bottlers since the start of the 2012/13 season are Real Sociedad.  Hardly the biggest name in Spanish football, Sociedad have lost 55.14% of the 107 games that they started as favourites.

That's not a good record and may be an indicator as to why Real Sociedad are currently on their fourth manager since 2012.

Being a "bottle job" had nothing to do with this weekends loss against Real Madrid but with a winnable game coming up against Levante next week, Real Sociedad will have to hope they can avoid adding to their current tally of 59 bottled games.

Stuart (Admin)


I've drawn on all my experience from working at BetAdvisor & TipsterAcademy in order to get this site built. It's been a challenge but I'm happy to bring it to you for your use.

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Malaga v Atletico Madrid (Tip)