Swiss Could Decide Relegation Fate…

Date published: Thursday 22nd January 2015 2:06

Swiss Could Decide Relegation Fate...

Of course, it could never be as simple as playing the final ten games and then deciding who is going to be relegated based on the fanciful notion of picking the three teams at the bottom end of the table. This is Spain.
This is the country that came rather close to simply not playing the final two matches of the Primera campaign due to a power struggle between a group of what could loosely be described as idiots. Instead, the teams being ejected from La Primera this season could be decided in a court
room in Switzerland.
As it stands at the bottom of La Primera, Córdoba are the one definite, certified side bound for La Segunda. Potentially joining the Andalusians are Almería, Eibar, Deportivo and, if they are very unlucky, Granada. If Almería fail to win their last game of the season, then everything will be as clear as a Galician glass of water.
That could be a tough ask in itself as the southern side, currently second from bottom, are up against a visiting Valencia that need a win to guarantee fourth and maybe even grab third and prevent an entire five-year plan going up in smoke a fifth of the way through.
A win for Almería is where things get complicated. Deportivo, two points above Almería, are widely expected to lose heavily in the Camp Nou against a Barcelona team that may well be looking for a 99% possession rate and 17,849 passes over 90 minutes to celebrate Xavi’s final Camp Nou clash in La Liga. Third-from-bottom Eibar are facing Córdoba but are in such awful form that a victory is not guaranteed. Granada, also two points above Eibar but with three wins on the trot, are at home to an Atlético Madrid side needing a point to secure third.
Should Almería somehow prevail and end the campaign out of the relegation zone, then heady celebrations would theoretically ensue. But not in this situation, as they face a three-point deduction imposed by FIFA but set to be decided upon by the Court of Arbitration of Sport next week over a non-payment of debt to a Danish club.
They could be spared and then condemned just a few days later, with the reverse happening to Eibar, Deportivo or Granada. Those running the game in Spain will have everything crossed for Valencia to do the business and prevent a rather messy situation and a long line of lawyers hammering at doors.
The other drama which may unfold over the weekend is in the Santiago Bernabéu. The match against Getafe, quite meaningless in terms of anything to play for on the pitch, is set to be a plebiscite for the Real Madrid fans on the futures of Carlo Ancelotti, Gareth Bale and Iker Casillas. A thumbs-down from the crowd and a rollicking for the latter pair could see both deciding to head to pastures new.
But even 90 minutes of chanting and general appreciation from the crowd may not be enough to save Ancelotti, Real’s 12th manager since the turn of the century. Stories emanating from Italy have wafted over the Mediterranean to suggest Rafa Benítez will be getting a spin on the Bernabéu bench, something that the Napoli boss has been waiting a very long time to do.
The domestic league season may technically be over on Saturday, but a group of soap opera-like scenarios are ready to rumble on for some time to come. Whilst the football may be coming to a close in La Liga, the drama is just about to get going.
Tim Stannard

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