We are once again at the same place. Another year where the last fixtures are the biggest enemies for the humble teams and where a simple mistake sends you to the most complicated hell to scape from: the Second Division (just ask Zaragoza, Sporting de Gijón or even Deportivo de la Coruña).
These last fixtures of the season tend to be blamed for the relegation of the teams that end up going down, but they are just the reflection of of the mistakes that have taken them to this difficult situation on the table.
For the fans of Cádiz, Getafe, Valencia, Almería, Celta, and Valladolid, these are the most suffering moments they can go through, but they are also the most beautiful ones for the neutral fans.
These games are the perfect representation of what football must be: all the games played at the exact same time and the radios on in order to find out what is going on in the other corner of the country. A mistake punishes you and a right call saves you.
In Cádiz they believed that they will not suffer this season, but in the end the team has not been able to seal their stay despite the great level from some players like Bongonda.
Getafe CF, who were already established in LaLiga, as they have been in the first Division for the last 18 seasons out of the 19, have ended up managing to relying on themselves in the last fixture despite the long term knee injury on their best player Enes Ünal. A draw will make it for them.
Valencia CF have gotten used to a different battle in these last few years compared to their European goals in the last decades and thanks to the good results at Mestalla and to the academy players (Diego López, Alberto Marí or Javi Guerra) they are still alive and rely on themselves.
UD Almería arrived to LaLiga Santander as one of the most promising teams, but the lost of Sadiq early in the season harmed them a lot and with the poor outcomes on the road, they are the worst visiting team of LaLiga along with Elche, which is why they have gotten stuck to the relegation race.
RC Celta seemed to be saved a few months ago when they looked towards Europe thanks to a good momentum with the arrival of coach Carvalhal. This time they will have to face such a delicate situation such not having Iago Aspas on his best shape due to some injuries and with a squad that has been unable to get a win in the last ten fixtures.
Pezzolano started off very good at Valladolid, but after five consecutive defeats, it seems like Pacheta was not having such a bad season. Their win against FC Barcelona has given them another chance and that can be a key victory in their battle to stay, but they are the only team who must win in order to stay.
Last but not least, RCD Espanyol, who were relegated in the last fixture, have been one of the biggest disappointments of the season. To find yourself that down on the table in the last fixtures with players like Sergi Darder, Joselu or Pacheco is a bad sign.
The club made a big investment at the start of the season in order to avoid to return to the Second Division and they have been stuck in relegation all season long. Based on individual talent, they should certainly be saved by now, but the team has sunk in the key moments and have suffered too many internal and external mistakes.
The 38th fixture will decide the last team to go down to the Second Division next year with opponents that have nothing to battle for for most involved teams (Betis-Valencia, Celta-Barcelona, Elche-Cádiz and Espanyol-Almería) and the direct game where one of them are likely to be relegated (Valladolid-Getafe).
We will see which club regret having wasted so many fixtures and which ones learn the lesson in order to avoid to suffer that much next year to go down or, at least, until this time next year. How beautiful and tough at the same time is football!
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: Edit Marta Calle.