There are no easy games at this stage of the season if you are struggling for survival, but this weekend, six of the bottom nine face top seven teams, whilst two others, Malaga and Hercules, meet in a massive six pointer on the Costa del Sol.
Relegation could come on Sunday for Almeria
Almeria could be the first team to go down this season, if they are beaten by Seville on Sunday.
The bottom team are 10 points off safety and if Malaga and Zaragoza both win, a defeat would
mathematically condemn Almeria to second division football next year.
Whilst Barša look to strengthen their top spot in Donosti, the struggle at the bottom, where just 5
points separate 12th from 19th, really hots up with just five games left to play. There’s
also what could prove to be a vital game in the race for UEFA spots at Cornella on Monday, when
Espanyol take on fifth place Bilbao in a match they have to win to maintain any hopes of European
football next season.
Big games for bottom teams
It’s a tough ask for both Real Sociedad (38 points) and Zaragoza (36), who
face the top two this weekend, but the clubs around them also have difficult games: bottom placed
Almeria(26) could be relegated if they fail to beat Seville at home, Osasuna(35) are at home to
Valencia, Getafe(37) travel to Villarreal and Deportivo(38) entertain Atletico Madrid. Malaga(36)
and Hercules(38) meet at La Roseleda and Racing (37) face what looks to be the easiest task, at
home to Mallorca.
Zaragoza and Osasuna play second and third
It’s been more than 10 years since Zaragoza won at the Bernabeu, but with
Real Madrid still reeling from the defeat against Barša and Mourinho resting Cristiano and Xabi
Alonso amongst others, their Paraguayan defender Paulo Da Silva reckons they could spring a
surprise: “ we’ll go into the game with the idea of taking them on and giving them a
fight”. Osasuna are the only team to take fewer points on the road than Zaragoza and that
makes their remaining home games even more vital -unfortunately for them, those games are against
Valencia, Seville and Villarreal. Valencia themselves come into Sunday’s game in need of a
result after last week’s humiliation by Madrid and boss Emery reckons: “we desperately
need a win and restore our image”.
Villarreal look to bounce back
Villarreal are another team who come into the weekend on the back of a big defeat
– losing 5-1 to Oporto midweek - and Getafe, who’ve not won on the road since December,
will hope to catch them at a low point as they begin a tough run in with further trips to the
Bernabeu and Anoeta ahead of them. However, Villarreal themselves can’t afford any more slip
ups with Bilbao in fifth place, now just six points behind them. Two points behind Bilbao are
Atletico Madrid, who visit La Coru˝a where Deportivo boss Lotina reckons the game is
“key” to survival, “if we can win one of the next two or three games, we should
be safe”. Racing’s manager Marcelino echoed Lotino’s views ahead of his
team’s game against Mallorca: “the three points could give us a very high percentage of
avoiding the drop”
In form Malaga in six pointer at La Rosaleda
Malaga have lost just one of their last six home games and their win at Racing last
weekend took them out of the bottom three. On Sunday they entertain Hercules, whose win against
Deportivo last week has also given them a glimmer of hope and their leading scorer David Trezeguet
whilst admitting the Malaga game is “crucial”, also believes “while we still have
a mathematical chance, we have to keep fighting”.