The relegation battle has come down to the final game of the season in La Liga, and with four teams facing the drop, we are set for a mouth-watering day on 1st June.
Here’s a look at the current situation at the wrong-end of the Spanish premier division table:
Bottom place Mallorca face a tie at home versus Valladolid, and will have to secure three points to have any chance of survival. With a goalless draw against Atletico Madrid in the last game, they will be fairly confident of coming out on top in this fixture. Fans know the team will have to rely on players like Dos Santos, Victor and their main striker Hemed to win them an a vital 3 points.
19th place Zarazoga will also play at home with a tough tie to 3rd place Atletico Madrid. Diego Simminoa’s men now having nothing to play, therefore this is the best time to play the Copa Del Ray Champions. Zarazoga will have to rely on a Deportivo loss, then they face an even greater ask as the attempt to challenge Atletico. A draw could be good enough but with goal difference the deciding factor, it could be a risky strategy for Zarazoga. After losing 4-0 to Real Betis they have not been on the best of form and that’s why they find themselves in this battle for survival. They will have to rely on Roberto in goal, Rodri (currently on loan from Barca B) and Portuguese striker Postiga in order to beat the drop.
Celta Vigo were hot favourites to finish bottom at the start of the season, however they currently occupy 18th place. The sky blues have a home tie against Catalan team Espanyol, in this match they will only need a draw if Deportivo lose their match. Despite this, a win would result in a much less stressful day for Paco Herrera. After beating Valladolid 0-2 away from home and with top striker Iago Aspas playing well again and scoring goals, Celta Vigo have a great chance of staying in La Liga. Paco will do everything tactically to prepare his players for the 1st June, but his top players like Aspas, Alex Lopez, Krohn Dehli and Cabral will have to make a huge contribution in this one.
Deportivo are the final team in this relegation battle, the team who has the best chance to survive but perhaps the hardest game to play. Deportivo face a tough home fixture against Real Sociedad who need a win to finish in the top four of La Liga (in order to qualify for the Champions League). Deportivo will need a freak performance to get anything from this game after losing 3-1 away to Malaga they’re not currently playing at their best. Realistically, I can only see a Sociedad win and a big win at that. To prevent this, Deportivo will have to rely on their star men, Riki, Pizzicato and Dominguez, in the middle of the park.
In my opinion Celta Vigo will be the team to survive relegation and remain in La Liga next season. This view is based on the fact that Resino’s have the easier final fixture compared to the rest of their opponents at the foot of the table. After winning 2-0 in their last match and whilst they are playing good football, I think they will just have enough to finish outside the bottom three. It could be argued that Mallorca have the hardest tie, versus Valladolid, but due to Mallorca’s poor form I just can’t see them even taking a point from their final game.
My bottom four at the end of the season:
17th Celta Vigo