In La Liga, we are just past the halfway stage. Gaps are starting to open up as the big guns, particularly Real Madrid and Sevilla in first and second, begin to pull away whilst others drop off. Focusing on the bottom of the Primera Division standings, though, and all is still to play for when it comes to the relegation battle.
La Liga Relegation Battle: Who Will Escape the Drop?
As Things Stand in the La Liga Relegation Battle
Starting with the three who currently occupy the drop-zone and all are fascinating in truth. At the time of writing, Levante sit rock bottom which is unfamiliar territory for them. Under Paco Lopez, they pushed up and up the La Liga standings, always seeing exciting games play out win, lose or draw.
Now with the shockingly young Italian Alessio Lisci, they only recently got their first three points of the season. It was a seven-goal thriller against city rivals Valencia and a battering by Villarreal that led into their last game, when they dramatically overcame Mallorca. Roberto Soldado gave Levante the lead shortly after the break and a number of close shaves and disallowed goals at the other end proved to be a blessing, captain Jose Luis Morales then put the game to bed deep into added time.
Levante end their TWENTY SEVEN game winless streak by beating Mallorca 2-0!! Mallorca had two goals ruled out and missed a penalty. Tremendously exciting end to the game!
— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) January 8, 2022
19th is Cadiz, who, themselves, have a former Premier League Spaniard leading the line. From Soldado to Negredo and the ex-Man City and Middlesbrough man has chipped in with two goals whilst Anthony ‘Choco’ Lozano leads the team with five. Levante have the experience of avoiding relegation out of La Liga on numerous occasions recently but the same can’t be said for Cadiz. Cadiz gained promotion to the top division in the 19/20 season, finished 12th last time out and may now be on their way back down.
18th: Deportivo Alaves
The final of the three sides in the La Liga relegation zone are Deportivo Alaves. They have averaged 1.5 goals conceded a game in the league which isn’t awful, meanwhile they’re scoring roughly 0.75 goals per 90. Their pretty solid defence has earned them some big points in the last month or two; drawing with Barcelona, Sevilla, Getafe, Real Sociedad and Athletic Club, four of these five being strong top ten and higher teams. Draws aren’t going to keep a side up but if they can change a few of those into wins, then they’re in a good position to remain in La Liga.
Those That Could Be Dragged in
The teams currently avoiding the drop in the bottom half can be split into two groups. From Valencia in 10th down to Celta Vigo in 14th. These teams are by no means safe, but it would be a shock if any of them were relegated from La Liga come the end of this season. Valencia have a Europa League to their name, and so to see their struggles take them anywhere near the drop-zone would be remarkable.
Celta on the other hand, have come close to relegation in recent years only for Iago Aspas to save them. A post-Aspas era needs to be considered, something which has seemingly been done so far this year in fairness. Espanyol, Osasuna and Granada are the other trio and they all have a decent amount of breathing space between them and the bottom three.
Then, to the sides in 15th, 16th and 17th, which are Mallorca, Elche and Getafe respectively. These are safe but only narrowly and one or two results could see them drop into the bottom three. As previously stated, Mallorca were on the receiving end of Levante’s first win of the season and so whilst they’ve got some great talent on the field, it needs to start paying off. Takefusa Kubo on-loan from Real Madrid could be the difference maker if he starts putting a string of performances together.
Getafe are struggling to adjust now that Jose Bordalas has moved to pastures new and so, along with Elche, they’ll be hoping to simply survive this time around and then go from there next term in La Liga.
Leading Candidates for Promotion
Finally now, dropping down to the Segunda Division to look at who will gain promotion up to La Liga. The likes of Eibar, Malaga, Las Palmas and Girona have all enjoyed stints in the top flight previously and in general, it is a highly competitive division down there. The former and latter of this four currently sit in the playoff spots whilst the other two would require an upturn in form to make the top six.
Away from these aforementioned sides and it is Almeria who lead the way, a side that can hardly be regarded as La Liga material from years gone by. They last played in the top division in 2014/15, finishing 19th and getting relegated alongside Eibar and Cordoba. Almeria have not featured in La Liga since.
As far as the La Liga relegation battle goes, Levante are the side to watch down there. In Jose Luis Morales and Roger Marti, they have two very solid attackers who can score enough to keep them up. On top of that, Getafe are safe by one point as it stands and it’ll be intriguing to see if they get dragged into it in this post-Bordalas era.
At the other end of the table, can anyone catch Real Madrid? Click here to read all about it!
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