By Tim Stannard
Sports Covid-19 crisis worsens an already dire situation for a Valencia side fighting for survival against Cadiz on Monday
First off, stand down Barcelona fans.
Not even the Camp Nou club fits the bill of LaLiga's biggest crisis club, although it is certainly challenging for the top spot after only just managing to squeeze past Huesca, a team with just the single league win all season.
But, Barcelona still has Lionel Messi - until June at least - and a host of sellable assets. As Ronald Koeman pointed out optimistically on Sunday, there is even the chance to win the league title if "a team [above us] goes on a bad run, the gap can be closed."
Valencia has none of these positives.
Last summer, the very cash-strapped club was stripped of its top talent with Ferran Torres, Rodrigo Moreno, Dani Parejo, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Francis Coquelin all leaving. Although some promising young talent such as USMNT's Yunus Musah have been promoted, it has not been nearly enough to prevent a season of struggle for the team.
📽️ 𝚆𝙸𝚃𝙷 𝙰𝙻𝙻 𝚃𝙷𝙴 𝚂𝚃𝚁𝙴𝙽𝙶𝚃𝙷 𝙰𝙽𝙳 𝚆𝙸𝙻𝙻𝙸𝙽𝙶𝙽𝙴𝚂𝚂 𝚃𝙾 𝙼𝙾𝚅𝙴 𝙵𝙾𝚁𝚆𝙰𝚁𝙳 🦇⚽️ pic.twitter.com/p3edCSH5LC— Valencia CF 🦇🍊🌊 (@valenciacf_en) January 2, 2021
There is an institutional rift with a distant ownership group in Singapore at odds with suspicious fans who would be protesting in Mestalla on a regular basis were they able to attend Valencia's matches - another reason why Valencia's dire economic situation is worsening by the day.
The men from Mestalla - a team normally in or around the Champions League places - are now in the relegation zone. With just three wins from 16 in LaLiga and with just a single victory in 12, the crisis is very real indeed for a Valencia side which hosts Cadiz today.
Coach Javi Gracia admits that the frowns are not turning upside down at Valencia, due to the side's worrying run of form, but promises that the team has "gotten back its spirit, faith and confidence" for Monday's huge must-win match.
Find out if that's the case with Valencia vs. Cadiz live on beIN SPORTS from 2:50PM ET.
Later on, you can catch up with an in-depth, lifting the edge of the rug, look at the best action from the weekend on beIN SPORTS with Monday Night Soccer at 9:30PM ET, following on from Viva LaLiga at 8PM ET.
Marcelino gets Athletic ready for Barca visit
Another struggling big team in LaLiga this season is starting a new era on Monday with a brand new coach in charge.
Despite a 1-0 victory at the weekend, Athletic Club's bosses opted for firing Gaizka Garitano in a bit of a surprise move, with the team in ninth and a yet-to-be-played 2019-20 Copa del Rey final on the horizon.
A swift replacement has been found with Marcelino being appointed - a coach that was fired by Valencia just over a year ago - to add to his collection of LaLiga's classic teams that he has managed.
So far, Marcelino has ticked off Sevilla, Valencia, and Villarreal - as well as being fired by all three clubs previously. The 55-year-old has signed until June 2022 and his very first match with just a couple of training sessions under the belt will be against Barcelona no less.
The match is a time-traveling catch-up game from Round 2 of LaLiga and is live on beIN SPORTS on Wednesday from 2:50PM ET.
The Sports Burst live show will be all over life in LaLiga with Hope Solo at 12PM ET on our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page or XTRA channel.
Pochettino preps for PSG's Wednesday debut
Athletic is not the only club forging a brave new path into the future on Wednesday - PSG are in the same sporting boat of destiny.
In a fairly busy winter break for PSG, the Ligue 1 giants bounced Thomas Tuchel out as coach and on Saturday, brought in Mauricio Pochettino who has taken Monday's training session - the Argentinean's second at his brand new club.
While Poch attempts to find out if there is any sign of life from Neymar on his return from an eventful spell in Brazil, the transfer market has been busy linking PSG with anyone that Pochettino might have coached. Even Harry Kane.
However, a more realistic target seems to be a loan spell for Tottenham playmaker, Dele Alli, who has joined an elite club of players to have been fallen out with Jose Mourinho over the years - Iker Casillas and Paul Pogba for starters.
Elsewhere, PSG are reportedly looking to make Moise Kean's loan deal from Everton more permanent after a tremendous season so far for the Italian youngster who has racked up seven Ligue 1 goals.
Project PSG and Poch officially gets underway on Wednesday live on beIN SPORTS CONNECT with a Ligue 1 match at Saint Etienne from 2:50PM ET.