Sunday, May 28, 2023

The final day permutations, almost safe, but...!

 Valencia nearly screwed it up against Espanyol. Despite dominating the first half hour, Valencia as usual were unable to put away good chances and the game went like so many others this season. Eventually, the other team got some half chances and scored.

The English commentator reckoned we were safe. By my calculation we're not. We survive next week in any of the following situations:

1 we get a point
2 Cadiz don't LOSE (away to Elche, there's a very unlikely scenario where Cadiz could still relegate)
3 Valladolid don't win (they are at home to Getafe, who are not safe)
4 Almeria lose (they are away to already relegated Espanyol)
5 Celta don't win (they're at home to Barcelona.)

If we lose and Valladolid win, then there's the possibility of a messy tie on 41 points, which is broken by head-to-head points, then head-to-head goal difference between *ALL* the teams in question. The all is important since, although we win a head-to-head against Getafe, the inclusion of other teams could screw us up.

Here are all the possible head-to-heads involving us and Getafe:

Almeria 16, Cadiz 13, Valencia 10, Getafe 9, Celta 5

Cadiz 11, Valencia 9, Getafe 9, Celta 4
Almeria 14, Valencia 10, Getafe 7, Celta 2
Almeria 12, Cadiz 10, Getafe 5, Valencia 4***

Almeria 10, Valencia 4, Getafe 3
Valencia 9, Getafe 7, Celta 1
Cadiz 8, Getafe 5, Valencia 3***

Valencia 3-3 Getafe (Valencia wins 5-2 on head-to-head goals scored.)

Only the ones with the asterixes relegate us. Oddly, since both of them involve Cadiz, that means we need Cadiz to get a draw or win at Elche. If Cadiz get at least a point, we're guaranteed safety.

It's really frustrating that we have spent so many months surviving not through our own efforts, but more hoping that other teams will be worse than us and throwing away points in crunch games against virtually every relegation rival. (Celta the only exception since the world cup!) 

So while it's 99% sure we'll survive this season, the prospects for next do not look so good. Mamardashvili has saved us on a number of occasions this season, the mistake tonight aside. With our own attacking players so often toothless, we've relied on the goals of Lino and Kluivert to dig us out of trouble. The continuity of all those 3 at Mestalla is in serious doubt. Losing Guedes and Soler last summer removed our 2 biggest threats and although Almeida looks a solid prospect, he's a season away from fully filling Soler's boots. Apart from him, Gaya, Mamardashvili, Kluivert, Lino and some of the promising canteranos, there are very few guys in this squad I'd shed tears over if they left.

Sadly, I expect another relegation struggle next season even if we do survive on the last day.