Which Teams Will Fight Off Relegation In La Liga?

With ten games remaining in La Liga, just eight points separate the bottom five clubs. Due to financial trouble, it is a safe bet that Deportivo La Coruna will be one of the three teams relegated to the Segunda Division. Meanwhile, Celta Vigo is trying to hang on and remain in La Liga after enduring a five-year absence.

Using advanced metrics from BSports Match Analysis, we can identify the teams that are likely to avoid relegation, along with the teams that are trending in the wrong direction.

Granada (28 Points): Trending Up

Granada have been pulled into the relegation zone after suffering recent losses to Celta Vigo and Mallorca. Even though the club is currently in the midst of a five-match win-less streak, Granada has actually shown some improvement over the last couple of weeks. In the last two matches, both draws, Granada have conceded just 8 and 7 shots respectively. That is much better than the 14.9 shots they have conceded throughout the season, and center back Diego Mainz now leads La Liga with 10.9 clearances per match.

With a cohesive back line, Granada needs to find offense in order to keep itself out of the relegation zone. Granada does manage to take 57% of its shots inside the penalty area, and have scored 6 goals from penalties, so they are certainly active in the attacking third. If Granada can manage to score on more than 7% of its shot attempts over the next few weeks, while keeping its back line consistent, the club should do well enough to avoid relegation.

Zaragoza (26 Points): Trending Down

Defensively, Zaragoza have conceded 7 goals from counter attacks (most in La Liga), and recently have been vulnerable in transition play. Luckily, the remaining schedule only has two teams ranking in the top 5 in La Liga in counter attack goals (Real Madrid, Levante).

Nevertheless, the end of April will be critical for Zaragoza, with the home match against Mallorca being particularly important. When the teams last met, Zaragoza managed just two shot attempts, while Mallorca had nineteen. Zaragoza also returns to Celta Vigo in the coming weeks, and in that previous meeting 42.9% of Zaragoza’s shots came from set pieces. Now win-less in the last 12 matches, Zaragoza has scored just 3 goals in the last 6 matches, and will need to find a way to manufacture an attack in order to avoid being dropped.

For a full breakdown of this week’s matches, check out https://www.bloombergsports.com/football/.

Mallorca (24 Points): Trending Up

Mallorca have scored 8 goals in the last 6 matches, more than any of the other ‘drop zone’ teams. However, Mallorca has bigger issues on the defensive end, where it has conceded 13 goals in last 6 matches (2nd most in La Liga), and 15.2 shots per match (2nd most in La Liga).

Offensively, Alejandro Alfaro has become a breakout player, scoring 4 goals in the last 3 matches, and putting 5 of his 6 shots on target in that time.  Overall, Mallorca will benefit from home matches against Deportivo La Coruna and Rayo Vallecano, two of the worst 5 defensive teams in La Liga. If the club can handle its defensive issues, it should be avoiding relegation.

Celta Vigo (23 Points): Trending Down

Things have not looked good for Celta Vigo defensively, conceding 14 goals in last 6 matches (most in La Liga). However, Celta Vigo have been particularly good at defending set pieces (t-3rd fewest conceded in La Liga), and this could play a big role on Celta Vigo’s match with Zaragoza, who have scored 48% of its total goals from set pieces so far this season.

Offensively, the numbers for Celta Vigo are just as distressing. They spend just 24% of possession in the attacking half of the field (2nd lowest percentage in La Liga), and only score on 6% of their shot attempts. Losers of 6 of the last 7 matches, Celta Vigo will have to make some drastic changes in order to avoid relegation.

Deportivo La Coruna (20 Points): Trending Down

Deportivo’s latest win over Celta Vigo brought some consolation, but once the club filed for bankruptcy protection in January, it was inevitable that the club would drop from La Liga. Justifiably, players are more worried about getting their paychecks than fighting relegation, and since the January announcement the club went on a 9 game win-less streak before defeating Celta Vigo 3-1.

Half of Deportivo La Coruna’s remaining matches are away, and the club has failed to win in its last 24 away matches. Things are not much better at home, where Deportivo have conceded 22 goals (3rd most in La Liga), and concede 13.6 shots per match (2nd most in La Liga). There is a remote chance that Deportivo could survive, but at this point the internal situation at the club is more likely to tear them down than their opponents.

For a full breakdown of this week’s matches, check out https://www.bloombergsports.com/football/.

 
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