To the casual follower of Spanish football, it may be easy to forget that there is another team occupying the city of Barcelona.
Throughout its 119-year history, Espanyol have played second fiddle to the giants of the Camp Nou in Barcelona with the club never able to shake the underdog tag.
However, there have been successes for the side affectionately known as the Budgerigars with four Copa Del Rey victories and twice UEFA Cup runners up.
Of course, that success is dwarfed by Barcelona’s, but Espanyol have for a long time been a valuable member of Spain’s top-flight – However, if things continue, Espanyol’s 26 season stint in Spain’s top flight is coming to an end.
At the time of the writing, Espanyol occupy bottom spot in the La Liga table, five points from safety with just two wins to their name all season.
It is a stark contrast from the team that finished seventh last season and entered this seasons Europa League at the qualifying stage.
That may have contributed somewhat to the Budgerigars downfall this campaign as the season got underway as early as July with the vast number of games required just to make it to the group stages of Europe’s second-tier competition.
The poor run in the league also led to the dismissal of manager Pablo Machin at the beginning of last week with former Sporting Gijon head coach Abelardo Fernández now placed in charge with the task of hauling back the deficit to 17th.
It will be an uphill task as Espanyol have recorded just two victories all season. To make matters worse, they have also only scored 12 goals at an average of 0.66 per game whilst conceding a total of 34 goals at an average of 1.88 per game.
You don’t need to be a mathematician to understand that those figures spell relegation meaning Machin’s sacking was inevitable.
However, it is not all over yet as Barcelona’s smaller side is not yet cut adrift at the halfway stage with five points needed to make up.
Surely performances cannot get worse and the hope is the new manager bounce may give the squad the lift and confidence it needs to get back to winning ways.
Not since the 1993/94 season, have we witnessed a La Liga campaign without Espanyol in it but there is still plenty of time to get out of jail and ensure the new decade sees them stay where they undoubtedly belong.