🇪🇸 Valencia dragged into LaLiga's madcap relegation scrap | OneFootball

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Joel Sanderson-Murray·30 January 2023

🇪🇸 Valencia dragged into LaLiga's madcap relegation scrap

Article image:🇪🇸 Valencia dragged into LaLiga's madcap relegation scrap

Barcelona gained significant ground in the title race but it’s a crazy battle at the bottom where we turn our focus to this week. Here’s what went down this weekend in Spain.

Highlights available in UK and Ireland only.

There was almost a gasp of disbelief in Valencia head coach Gennaro Gattuso’s post-match press conference on Sunday as one of the journalists questioned whether the Italian should turn his focus to avoiding relegation following his side’s defeat to Valladolid.

The question was preceded by an apology about it being rude but not since Joe Jordan at San Siro in 2011 has Gattuso been challenged so ferociously.

Article image:🇪🇸 Valencia dragged into LaLiga's madcap relegation scrap

A collective gulp followed. Surely Gattuso was about to leap into a verbal two-footer with the same sort of aggression he showed in his playing days?

But the Valencia head coach lowered his head, stared at the table and looked resigned in defeat.

“The table says this,” he admitted.

“We’ve struggled to win for a long time now and we need to play thinking about our situation in the table.

“That’s our reality right now.”

Valencia’s situation is concerning. Cyle Larin’s 90th-minute against them on Sunday leaves them in 14th position in the table, without a win in four games and just one point above the relegation zone.

The Milan legend has overseen eight defeats in his 18 games in charge and a season that began with optimism has spiralled into fear that the six-time LaLiga champions could realistically be relegated to the second tier for the first time since 1987.

There is one crumb of comfort for the Italian at this moment in time: half the division look like they’re currently in a relegation battle.

From Almerîa in 11th position to Cádiz in 18th there is just a three-point gap. Girona and Sevilla lie below Almería on 21 points while three other teams join Valencia with 20 points in Espanyol, Celta Vigo and Valladolid.

One matchday can change the entire complexion of the bottom half of the table. Exciting for the neutral but absolute trauma for the teams involved.

There is still just under half a season to go and the table will surely even out at some stage, but the inconsistencies of the teams in the bottom half have led us to this situation currently.

Are Valencia too big to go down? Well they’re in this scrap as much as anyone else and Gattuso isn’t trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, admitting he is starting to fear for his job.

“This game could be decisive.

“I have to think about it. I have to respect the decision from the board.”

One of Spain’s biggest clubs is in serious trouble.

And elsewhere …

Iñaki Williams’ remarkable run of 251 successive league games is over. The Athletic Club striker hadn’t missed a game for his boyhood club since 2016 but injury kept him out of the defeat to Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Real Madrid lost more ground on Barcelona in the title race, falling five points behind the league leaders after drawing 0-0 at home to Real Sociedad.

Borja Iglesias kept up his 100% penalty success rate up with his 86th-minute winner against Getafe, making it 15 out of 15 with all his spot-kicks taken in LaLifga.

😱 Goal of the Weekend

Marcos Acuña’s strike, Sevilla’s second goal against Elche, stayed hit.

🥇 Player of the Weekend

Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo)

Article image:🇪🇸 Valencia dragged into LaLiga's madcap relegation scrap

Iago Aspas is single-handedly spearheading Celta Vigo’s fight to stay in LaLiga, scoring the second-half winner against Athletic Club to keep his boyhood club out of the relegation zone.