As every end of the year and half season way, we can all see different evidences like, for example, the main candidate to lift the title or the battle for relegation. However, if there is anything that stands out above the rest and that drags the appreciation from all the fans, that is the revelation team. In this case, that recognition goes for Rayo Vallecano.

It is true that other clubs like Betis are also making enough merits; just as Álvaro Cervera’s Cádiz last season, as they had similar goals and expectations as a team that just came up and taking into account that their roster’s value is lower than the rest of their rivals, their course for now is going right the opposite way from a “suffered stay”.

That is when the factor that makes the job from coach Andoni Iraola so special comes. No one could expect the incredible moment they are going through at Vallecas and that is boosting them in the table. Above their current position, which is a gift and an extra motivation both for the players and the crowd, Rayo Vallecano end 2021 with 30 points. Certainly, this secures a placid second round of the league and allows them to dream big.

It is very complicated that such a reliable block can waste such a comfortable advantage in a league where winning is very expensive. In fact, they are perfectly aware of this at Vallecas, but kind of in the opposite way; the visiting team is the one that has suffered it.

Rayo Vallecano have turned their home into a wall. As Sevilla still have a pending game to play, Rayo are for now the best home team in Spain: unbeaten in the first half of the season, as they have only conceded two points.

Iraola has displayed an offensive machine made out of bright direct football. They are the most attractive and entertaining team of the league to watch. Rayo Vallecano have the capacity to create danger through different ways: quick transitions in few touches, taking advantage of the verticality from Álvaro García or Isi; or through ball possessions with a pace changer like Óscar Trejo.

Furthermore, they also count on two great full backs and a group of strikers formed by Radamel Falcao, Sergi Guardiola and Nteka that have qualities to revalue other ways to attack like through headers. All in all, an ode to this beautiful sport.

However, the defensive display from all lines is a key part of the award earned. The commitment from the full squad is questionless, nobody spares any effort.

In Vallecas they work to extend the extraordinary level shown until now and we can’t detect their ceiling towards the second half of the season for a team that compites their best and that are in European spots deservedly. Rayo have it clear: “Pirate’s life is the best life”.

Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.

Main image: Twitter @RayoVallecano.

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