By Andreas Vou (@AndreasVou89)
While the attention predominantly lies on proceedings at the top of the table, the fight for who will stay on the division remains even wider open, with a three-way scrap set to commence on the final day of La Liga.
Fans of Getafe, Sporting Gijon and Rayo Vallecano face a nail-biting climax to the season, with a number of different scenarios still very much a possibility that could see any of the three survive. Each face sides who, in theory, have nothing to play for other than pride, yet none of the said trio are in for an easy ride.
Getafe v Real Betis
According to the league table, Getafe are the ones who start the day the less anxious of the three as they are the ones who sit outside of the drop zone, one point clear of the other two.
The Madrid-based club hold fate in their own hands as they go into their trip to Real Betis on the back some recent good form. Two wins and two draws from their last four games have helped them out of the relegation zone and three points on Sunday will guarantee their survival. Their away performances, however, inspire anything but confidence as they hold the third worst record on the road this season.
Sporting v Villarreal
Sporting take on a Villarreal side who have been one of the highlights of the season but with campaign season essentially over after achieving a Champions League spot, the home team stand a better chance than they would have thought of a few weeks ago. Last week’s 0-2 home defeat to Deportivo La Coruña suggests that Villarreal are already thinking about their summer holidays, and one assumes they will not be too bothered about the fact that Rayo would be relegated as a result, as they were the ones who famously knocked the Yellow Submarine out of the division in controversial fashion in 2011/12.
Rayo v Levante
They may be a point behind their competitors but, on paper at least, Rayo have the easiest fixture as they host the already relegated Levante. Paco Jemez’s side have won two out of their last three at home, and came mightily close to getting a result against Real Madrid but let their 2-0 lead slip which leaves them in a nervy spot on the final night.
Simply, if one side wins and the other two do not, then they will secure their top flight status. A win would guarantee Getafe safety regardless of what the other two do. A draw for Getafe however, would give the chance for Sporting to overtake them with a win, while a draw would not be enough as Getafe hold a superior head-to-head.
In the event that all teams tie on 36 points, it is Rayo who have the best overall record in a three-way mini-league, meaning that they would survive should they draw and the other two lose.
Although the latter seems an unlikely scenario, far stranger things have happened in past La Liga relegation battles and this Sunday is guaranteed to have its fair share of twists and turns.