A record-breaking season for all the wrong reasons

José González was head coach for the second half of the season.
José González was head coach for the second half of the season. / FERNANDO GONZÁLEZ
  • Malaga had the lowest points tally across all of the major leagues, scoring in just 15 of their league games

The Malaga squad have gone on their holidays after a campaign in which they picked up just 20 points, less than half of the total which normally guarantees safety in La Liga. While last year 32 would have been enough, this time round that total was 44, with Leganés in 17th picking up 43. This agonising season for the Blue and Whites can be summarised by some rather startling statistics.

Malaga's worst top-flight campaign in history

Out of Malaga's 37 seasons in the first division (17 in the current format), 2017-18 was the worst in history. Until now, the 2005-06 campaign was the worst on record when the team finished on 24 points after picking up just a single win (on Manolo Hierro's debut in the dugout against Athletic) in the entirety of the second half of the season.

Despite this abysmal run, the first half of the season was more or less as expected; this time the level was terrible from start to finish. Only for a brief period between match days 10 and 15 did Malaga ever look like a team capable of competing, picking up three victories and a draw in six games.

The worst in the top leagues

If we take a look at the top leagues across Europe, it doesn't make favourable reading for Malaga. For the most part, Malaga had the consolation that Serie A newcomers Benevento were worse-performing, but in the end the Italians finished on 21 points - one more than the Costa team.

In England, bottom team West Bromwich Albion finished on 31, Köln in Germany had 22 (despite playing four games fewer), and Metz in Ligue 1 reached 26.

17 defeats by a single goal

One of the most remarkable numbers from the season was the margin of the defeats suffered. Despite finishing rock bottom, the side lost 17 times by a single goal -a La Liga record- while they only suffered two thrashings (5-0 at the Mestalla and the 4-1 at Espanyol). You could also include the 3-0 against Alavés, with the latter two results coming in the final furlong with relegation already confirmed.

23 games without scoring

One of the worst characteristics of this side has been the inability to find the back of the net. On many occasions this was down to inability to create chances, but not always. Out of the 38 games, Malaga failed to score in 23 of them - over 60 per cent of fixtures.

The third worst in 20 years

During the past 20 years of La Liga there have only been two teams worse than Malaga - Cordoba (2014-15) and Granada (2016-17). All three teams registered 20 points but Malaga's goal difference (-37) keeps them above their Andalusian rivals who had -46 and -52, respectively.

Only Sporting Gijón in 1997-98 (13 points) performed worse.

The second most defeats

The Boquerones finished the season with the second most defeats in La Liga history with 28. Only the aforementioned Sporting, with 29, exceeded that number.

A top scorer with five goals

Having only scored 24 goals, it comes as no surprise that the top scorer for the club only registered five. That was Diego Rolan, followed closely by Chory Castro and En-Nesyri, with four apiece.

37 players fielded

Given the eight new recruits in January, along with numerous exits and bad results, Malaga fielded a total of 37, the final two on Saturday: Álex Robles and Juan Cruz.

No respite in the Copa either

In addition to the horrendous league campaign, Malaga added yet another failure in the Copa del Rey. The side were eliminated for the third consecutive year in the first round to a second division team. On this occasion it was against Numancia (2-1 in Soria and 1-1 at La Rosaleda); the previous two were against Mirandés and Córdoba, respectively.

Though Malaga were giving priority to the league and players were rotated, there has not been a worse-performing team in the cup in the last three years.