On the Brink: Week 1-2

Relegation battles are inherently intriguing. Nothing gets teams and their fan bases truly locked-in like the potential of being asked to leave the league. The loss of top flight revenue is normally devastating to a club. One of the giants of Mexican soccer being thoroughly embroiled in this affair, makes for a relegation battle to remember. Chivas find themselves in a four-way fight to survive with Leones Negros, Veracruz, and Puebla. Even without the extra drama from Chivas, simply having four teams in this race easily makes for more interest at the bottom of the table than at the top. This is a relegation battle to follow and one we'll be keeping tabs of weekly.

The first week of Liga MX action not only added fuel to the burning Guadalajara fire, it tossed a Molotov cocktail loaded with nitroglycerine at the swarm of doubt and media frenzy around Chivas. Devoid of circumstance, a Chivas loss in Chiapas is not devastating. When each of the other three relegation contenders come away with three points, it is very much that. Chivas and the clich├ęd 'crisis' have been synonymous for some time now. The effects of that are very much real at this point.


TABLA DE DESCENSO *

15.  Leones Negros - 18 games played - 20 points - 1.1111 ppg

16.  Veracruz - 52 games played - 54 points - 1.0385 ppg

17.  Puebla - 86 games played - 88 points - 1.0233 ppg

18.  Chivas - 86 games played - 88 points - 1.0233 ppg


Chivas now find themselves on the bottom of the descenso table and the schedule doesn't get any easier.  This week they head back to Guadalajara for their home opener where they will be hosting Pumas.  When they need a positive result the most, they will be facing a rival on the upswing. Pumas will present a tough challenge for Chivas. I suspect Chivas will be lucky to get a single point from this match.

Meanwhile, the other three contenders have some interesting matches in store on Friday night. Leones Negros are coming off their great win over Monterrey. They will now hit the road to face the Gallos Blancos in Queretaro. While Queretaro are not the strongest team at the moment, they certainly possess the ability to top the top flight newcomers.

The final two in this not-so-fearsome foursome will be facing off in Veracruz. The Tiburones Rojos will host Puebla in a crucial head-to-head match. Obviously, any time these four play each other the stakes are raised. Veracruz get to host Puebla this time around which should give them an advantage in this one. However, Veracruz has not boasted a stellar home record since 'buying' promotion. They ended last season with three consecutive home losses (amid a bunch of losses in general). A win for either side here could be huge.  





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* Relegation in Liga MX is determined based on the lowest points per game for the past three years or six seasons including the present. Veracruz and Leones Negros are recently promoted and haven't been in the league for three years. Hence, they have played fewer matches and their points per game number fluctuates more than that of Puebla or Chivas. 


** Artwork is used under a Creative Commons license from tiefengeist

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