After ten seasons out of La Liga, Deportivo Alaves shone on their first campaign back in the top flight last year.
A ninth-placed finish and 14 wins to their name, including a 2-1 victory over Barcelona, along with reaching the Copa del Rey final may have given them some false hope that they could replicate it again this time around.
The Basque club have found life difficult this year, currently sitting rock-bottom with just three points and four goals, and while there were quality acquisitions in the summer, things have not planned out as they had hoped.
Alaves always knew that some serious investment was needed during the off-season, having had eight players signed to the club on loan, including top scorer Deyverson, who netted seven times in the league.
The losses of current Real Madrid duo Theo Hernandez and Marcos Llorente weakened their side dramatically, with the pair featuring 32 times each in La Liga. Right-back Kiko Femenia was also allowed to leave on a free transfer, leaving the club with little cash to reinvest.
Rodrigo Ely and Ruben Sobrino both signed on permanent deals, following loan spells, while the arrivals of Munir El-Haddadi and Bojan Krkic on temporary contracts were cause for optimism.
However, they have failed to perform, with the attackers netting just once in all competitions between them so far.
Goals, goals, goals
Narrow defeats have been their downside, with over half of their losses coming with just a one-goal margin, while they have a better defensive record than six teams above them, including eighth-placed Real Betis.
While it is an area that can still be improved, manager Luis Zubeldia’s task for the rest of the season will be getting his forwards firing, especially his marquee signings in Munir and Bojan.
Otherwise, it will be second-season syndrome for Alaves and their return to the top flight will be cut short.