A preview of the relegation battle in Almeria

almeriaTo say that things are not going according to the plan for Almeria would be an understatement, because the team is struggling in the basement of the standings. Their objective for 2013 is to avoid relegation but if they keep making steps into the same directions, they will find it impossible to avoid this fate at the end of the season. The only team that sits below them is Rayo Vallecano who managed to accumulate just three points in eight games and are among the candidates for relegation.

This is why this confrontation is particularly important, as the one who loses tonight in Almeria is very likely to seal its fate. Although there are plenty of rounds left to be played in the Spanish domestic league, losing to a main counter candidate is disheartening and will have long-term consequences. The two teams are a defensive mess and concede an astonishing amount of goals even when playing against relatively weak opponents. At least in theory, the gap separating them from the other teams struggling to leave the relegation area is not considerable, but the manner in which they lose games is shocking.

Rayo Vallecano lost consecutive games while conceding for goals and even though they’ve somewhat strengthen their defenses recently, they are still unable to score goals of their own. This makes it particularly surprising that they found the resources to take advantage of Real Sociedad’s slump and won their first and only game this season. To explain this result, it is sufficient to look at the starting formation that the visiting team relied on in that particular game, as Sociedad chose to rest its key players.

They are trying to save whatever can still be saved in the Champions League after losing both games in a highly competitive group. Meanwhile, Rayo Vallecano doesn’t have such high aspirations, but they are bound to put all precautions aside and come out firing on all cylinders at Almeria. The hosts have conceded two goals or more in nine consecutive games and even though they score some of their own, it is never enough to deliver a victory.

Something’s got to give tonight when the two worst teams in Primera Division go at each other’s throats and punters would be right to bet on the number of goals. The odds for more than 2.5 goals to be scored are much better than those offered for indicating the outright winner, not to mention that the result is much easier to predict.