Who do we think will be relegated from La Liga?
It is a very difficult one to predict as the promoted teams may well struggle along with the many teams who only just avoided the drop last time out.
Getafe avoided relegation to Segunda Division by one goal. It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get much closer than that! However, within five points of the relegation zone an amazing seven other teams spent a good deal of the season looking over their shoulders. Valladolid, Osasuna, Sporting Gijon, Athletic Bilbao, Racing Santander, Almeria and Espanyol all failed to set the world alight last season.
Add to them the three clubs coming up from Segunda Division, Xerez, Real Zaragoza and Tenerife and you have a lot of teams battling to stay out of those bottom three places and trying to avoid the dreaded drop.
In order to predict a likely candidate to drop out of the league we have to start by trying to find teams that will probably be OK.
You have to say that Espanyol, Almeria, Racing Santander and Athletic Bilbao will probably survive another season at the top. That leaves Xerez, Zaragoza, Tenerife, Getafe, Valladolid, Osasuna and Sporting Gijon fighting it out.
LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s take a look at the clubs already established in the top flight first. Sporting Gijon were back in La Liga last season after an absence of ten years. They battled their way to safety, but are now facing the daunting Ã¢â‚¬Ëœsecond season syndromeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. Although it will be tough, I fancy manager Manuel Preciado to lead them to the safety of mid-table respectability.
Osasuna are perennial strugglers but this is their tenth season in a row in the top division and the indomitable JosÃƒÂ© Antonio Camacho will no doubt keep them safe again.
Valladolid managed to survive their second season at the top in similar fashion to the way they survived their first season. They will settle for similar again in their third.
Getafe are another team who seem to often struggle. The Madrid based club escaped by the skin of their teeth last season and although they have been in La Liga for six seasons now, you have to fear that this could be their last for a while.
The promoted clubs will be looking at the great success had by Malaga last season and hoping that they can replicate what they managed to do in their first season, managing a respectable eighth place finish.
In reality, Tenerife, who have spent seven seasons in Segunda Division are very unlikely to emulate Malaga. Last day survival on goal difference would be a great success for them.
Zaragoza bounced straight back last year after relegation from La Liga and they are a club who have spent many years in the top flight. Whilst they are unlikely to challenge the teams in the top half of the table too much, I would expect manager Marcelino GarcÃƒÂa Toral to lead them to relative safety.
The team who will approach the coming season with the most confidence is probably Xerez, who won Segunda Division last season and are approaching their first ever season at the top.
It is a great achievement for them to get there, but I fear that they will find it all a bit too difficult.
My main tip for the drop is Xerez. What do you think?
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