La Liga Lowdown: Relegation And Top 4 Deciders

Savage gives us his thoughts on the best of the action from the last round of matches in Spain’s Primera División and looks ahead as the fates of the bottom teams still hang in the balance

Cádiz (17) v Real Madrid (1)

Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla, Sun 15 May 18:30 (Ireland/UK), 19:30 (Spain)

Everything appeared to be going right for Cádiz when a 3-0 victory over Elche moved them two places clear of the relegation places. However, a heavy midweek loss to Sociedad means that all they are still perilously close to going down. Despite playing fellow strugglers Aláves on the final day, the intervening match with Madrid may mean their fate is sealed before then. Los Piratas record against the top 4 teams is fairly respectable given their current league position. 6 points from a possible 21 (W1 D3 L3) is a decent return given the obvious gulf in class that exists between the top and bottom teams. The home side might have hoped that Madrid would take their foot off the gas with the title secured. However, the visitors crushed Levante in midweek in a 6-0 trouncing that may have done Cádiz a huge favour.

Levante (20) v Aláves (19)

Estadio Ciudad de Valencia, Sun 15 May 18:30 (Ireland/UK), 19:30 (Spain)

In the end it was too little for Levante who finally succumbed to relegation after their defeat at the hands of Madrid. Aláves on the other hand battled their way to a 2-1 win against Espanyol and will be hoping they can continue their fight here. Of all the relegation strugglers Babazorros have the best sequence of games as they face bottom 4 sides in their final two matches. The 6 pointer against Cádiz in particular will hold the key to which teams will end up going down. Levante had enjoyed a significantly better second half of the season. Ultimately their inability to string together 2 consecutive wins together meant progress was stymied at every turn. Only 1 win on the road for Aláves (D3 L14) means that the hosts definitely have the advantage in this one. However, their confidence will be at rock bottom with their fate already sealed.

Atlético Madrid (3) v Sevilla (4)

Wanda Metropolitano, Sun 15 May 18:30 (Ireland/UK), 19:30 (Spain)

Atleti have already secured their European place for next season but the same cannot be said for the visitors. There is a very slim chance that they could still be overtaken by Betis into fourth place. However, if their city rivals drop even a single point then the top 4 will be finalised. Madrid will be hoping to finish strongly after a largely disappointing season that has seen them struggle for consistency. They certainly will not want to lose a further place on the table and with a game against Sociedad upcoming they will have to be at their best to avoid that happening. Simeone’s side have won just one of their last 6 agaisnt Sevilla (W1 D3 L2) but that came in their previous meeting at the Wanda. Los Nervionenses are currently on a run of 3 straight draws so they are not exactly firing on all cylinders.

Best Game of the Round

Real Madrid 6-0 Levante

This really was a cruel way for Levante to finally be relegated as they truly were annihilated by a merciless Madrid. It should come as no surprise that with such a porous defence there for the taking, Luka Modric had a field day registering 3 assists. His first came after 13 minutes when he played a ball from deep in his own half the sprung Mendy clear of the Levante defence. The Frenchman still had work to do but comfortably slotted home past Cardenas. The league’s most feared double-act combined for the second as Vini Jr. hung up a cross that Benezma couldn’t help but head home. Rodrygo continued his incredible run of form with another goal. He played an excellent one-two with Modric that saw him unmarked in the 6-yard box for a tap-in.

More Modric Magic

The next interchange of passes involving the Croatian was almost insultingly good. Vini Jr laid the ball off and he received nonchalance in return as Modric was standing still when he played his defence splitting pass. Vini duly applied the finish. Albeit not at fourth assist on his record the pass through to setup Los Blancos’s fifth was also something special (see Goal of the Round). Madrid just didn’t let up and neither did Vini Jr. He was finally rewarded for his efforts when he capped off his first hat-trick for the club in fine style. Luka Jovic won the ball high up the pitch and played a first time ball to the Brazilian. The winger scampered between two Levante defenders before beating Cardenas at his near post. Real were utterly relentless in their quest for goals and ultimately it cost the visitors their place in the top flight..

Best Goal of the Round

Vinicius Jr (2) v Levante

In the end this goal was a simple tap-in for a player of Vini Jr’s quality but this was all about the build-up. He started the move by winning the ball back on the edge of the centre-circle and laid it off to Camavinga before continuing his run. The Frenchman played the ball short to Modric who had his back to goal in the middle of the Levante half. One touch to kill the ball dead. One touch to turn towards goal. And then one outside of the right-foot pass that bisected two defenders with near surgical precision to find Benezma free in the area. The league’s top goal-scorer showed some dancing feet to bamboozle Dani Cardenas before rolling the ball across the 6-yard box for Vini.

And the rest…

Espanyol (13) v Valencia (10), Sat 14 May 17:30 (Ireland/UK), 18:30 (Spain)

Celta Vigo (11) v Elche (14), Sat 14 May 20:00 (Ireland/UK), 21:00 (Spain)

Villarreal (7) v Real Sociedad (6) Sun 15 May 18:30 (Ireland/UK), 19:30 (Spain)

Athletic Bilbao (8) v Osasuna (9), Sun 15 May 18:30 (Ireland/UK), 19:30 (Spain)

Mallorca (18) v Rayo Vallecano (12), Sun 15 May 18:30 (Ireland/UK), 19:30 (Spain)

Getafe (15) v Barcelona (2), Sun 15 May 18:30 (Ireland/UK), 19:30 (Spain)

Real Betis (5) v Granada (16), Sun 15 May 18:30 (Ireland/UK), 19:30 (Spain)

SRD Selections:

Cadiz v Real Madrid – Over 2.5 Goals @ 9/10

Levante v Alaves – Alaves To Win @ 5/4

Atletico v Sevilla – BTTS @ Evens

  1. The above in a treble at 15/2