Eibar's La Liga dream is nearly over

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When Eibar joined the rank and file of the elite exponents in La Liga the whole of planet football rejoiced.

In an age of astronomical salaries, foreign owners using club's as their plaything and multi-billion pound TV deals, it was refreshing to find a story of real football romance.

To remind ourselves, Eibar are a small town in the Basque country.

So small in fact, that their entire population of 27,000 would comfortably sit in either the Santiago Bernabeu or Camp Nou and still leave room for 50-60,000 other patrons.

Their entire sporting budget for the club as a whole is not as much as Cristiano Ronaldo's annual salary.

To that end, their tenure in the Spanish top flight was always going to be negligible.

Even after securing their status as the newest members of the league there were still another few hoops to get through before finally kicking off this years campaign at Ipurua against local rivals Real Sociedad, a game that was won by a solitary Javi Lara strike.

Deserved their place

Those expecting a flash-in-the-pan were left disappointed.

Eibar's first 11 games yielded just three defeats, and two of those were against champions Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

The game at Camp Nou was notable not for Barca's win, but for the fact that Gaizka Garitano's men should've been ahead at least twice before the Catalans opened the scoring. It would've certainly put a different complexion on that particular match.

In any event, five wins and three draws from the next 13 games was a sign of continued excellence from Garitano's side and, fleetingly it must be said, Eibar occupied a position of eighth.

Dropping like a stone

The lofty position must've gone to their heads because since then, the David to La Liga's Goliath has dropped like a stone.

Six defeats in succession and only one goal scored is relegation form and indeed Eibar are plummeting down the table.

Now 13th, they are just five points from third bottom with confidence at an all-time low. Goalkeeper Xabi Irureta in particular is having a disastrous time of it at present. 

On this form, you wonder why Athletic Bilbao have made an enquiry.

One season wonder?

Are we about to see the prophecy of many come true. That they really were just a one-season wonder?

Barcelona and Real Madrid loom large in their next set of fixtures and in the final run in, Sevilla and Valencia need to be safely negotiated.

At this juncture there are still many winnable games for Eibar, and enough points there to be won, so things haven't reached crisis point just yet.

The football family will be willing them to hold out just long enough to let this romance last a little longer.

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