Wednesday, 18 May 2011

La Liga: The final day - Relegation and Europa Cup battles

The final weekend of La Liga. What is left to play for? Everything has been decided apart from the final relegation place. The top four cannot change position and the Europa Cup competitors are all in place.

In fantasy terms, the best I can hope for is improving on my position of 34th in Fans of Almeria. What I've done today, is use the statistical model to predict the results of the final round of La Liga games, and in turn find out who is going down.

The current La Liga standings:

  • League position cannot change
  • Nothing but pride to play for
  • Could be relegated
  • Europa Cup
So, there are 6 teams battling to avoid that last relegation spot and three teams fighting trying to avoid going through the qualification rounds of the Europa Cup. Exciting stuff!

Here are the final day fixtures with the mathematically predicted scores:

Málaga CF 0 - 2 FC Barcelona
Racing Santander 1 - 1 Athletic Bilbao
Hércules CF 1 - 0 Sporting Gijón
Real Madrid 5 - 0 UD Almería
Osasuna 1 - 0 Villarreal CF
Real Sociedad 1 - 0 Getafe CF
RCD Espanyol 1 - 0 Sevilla FC
Levante UD 1 - 0 Real Zaragoza
RCD Mallorca 1 - 1 Atlético Madrid
Deportivo La Coruña 0 - 1 Valencia CF

Please bare in mind we cannot factor in that extra drop of mayhem that can unbalance normal proceedings on the final day of the season. Working through the list, in order of importance: which of these results feels right?

Levante 1-0 Zaragoza

The most important game of the day. In short, if Zaragoza lose, no other results matter in the relegation fight. A home win feels like a fair prediction. Levante have had an excellent 2nd half of the season, but Zaragoza have defeated Real Madrid and Valencia in recent weeks. I expect more goals from both sides but, with a 49% weighting for the home win, I allow Spiegel to convince me that Levante will prevail but there will surely be more than one goal in the match.

Pick: L - Caicedo, Valdo, RZ - Gabi

Real Sociedad 1-0 Getafe

A real hum-dinger. Both sides can go down if Zaragoza win and Depor get a point. A Sociedad home win is one of the top predictions with 51%. I'm happy with that. Again, I might expect more goals from two sides fighting for their lives. Even if Getafe lose, Parejo and Rios should both do well.

Pick: RS - Xabi Prieto, Griezmann; G - Parejo, Rios.

Osasuna 1-0 Villarreal

This feels right. If anything, Osasuna will score more. The Yellow Submarines have nothing to play for and seem to have left for their holidays weeks ago while Osasuna have been in top form, especially at home. Osasuna are pretty much guaranteed safety and can only go down if they concede about 10 goals and Zaragoza, Deportivo and Getafe win.

Pick: O - Ricardo, Camunas, Cejudo, Sola, any defenders

Deportivo 0-1 Valencia

This is one I feel less convinced about. Spiegel makes Los Che heavy favourites but they, like Villarreal, have nothing to play for. Deportivo have found it hard to get excited this season, but they may just get up for this one and upset the prediction. Anything other than a win leaves them vulnerable to the drop.

Pick: D - Adrian; V - Soldado

RCD Mallorca 1 - 1 Atlético Madrid

Both sides are stumbling towards the finish line. Atletico are playing Europa Cup football again. The only issue they have to worry about is avoiding the ignominy of having to go through the qualifying rounds if they come 7th. That tedium will certainly be on players' minds. Both sides don't really need to do a lot to be ok so a point each seems highly likely.

Pick: M - Webo, Nuse, De Guzman; AM - Reyes, Aguero

RCD Espanyol 1 - 0 Sevilla FC

Espanyol have done their best to remove themselves from contention for Europa Cup qualification. Sevilla need a win to avoid having to qualify for the tournament. Kanoute may be a up for a flourish of a sign off. A home win or draw feels fair. Not a tempting game to punt on. Spiegel says 1-0 but I'd expect a few more goals for both sides.

Pick: E - Callejon; S - Negredo, Kanoute

Racing Santander 1 - 1 Athletic Bilbao

Both sides are in a bit of form. Racing have secured mid-table mediocrity but Bilbao need to win to guarantee a straight forward passage into Europa Cup football and may fancy it after a few years out of European competition.

Pick: AB - Muniain

Outside of these games, the sharp eyed amongst you will have noticed the massive weighting the model gives to a Real Madrid victory with 5-0 being the most likely result. Therefore, for your fantasy sides, if you are like me, you will probably be sticking in 49m Ronaldo in and then scratching around to fit in scraps around him.

Here is the final table standings as the maths would have it:

My current lineup for this weekend:


Aoute, Mallorca, 4

Galan, Espanyol, 1
Castillo, A.Bil, 1
Amorebieta, A.Bil, 1

Ozil, R.Mad, 5
Di Maria, R.Mad, 5
Granero, R.Mad, 2
Affellay, Barca, .7
Xabi Prieto, RSO, 14.5

Ronaldo, RMAD, 49
Caicedo, Lev, 12.5


  1. Hi Johnson!

    Levante will stay in La Liga no matter what, since Real Sociedad and Getafe play against each other and it´s impossible for both of them to reach 45 points.

  2. Ga. you're right. I need to check my maths and update my colour codes.

    Still, it is still the most important game for the relegation zone and Levante will surely be gunning for the win to secure as high a finish as possible. With Zaragoza needing the win it should be an open game