On the Brink: Week 4-5

Four weeks have passed in the Clausura. It's still terribly early to sort out which team will be heading down to the Ascenso. Yet,  there is now some separation. We have our first real distance forming in the race. There are clues as to where this might just be headed. It's just the beginning, but it's clear which teams have the real heavy lifting in front of them.

Leones Negros traveled to Toluca this past Sunday. Some form of the team made it back to Guadalajara this week. A sound 3-1 beating from Toluca bounced the University of Guadalajara team to the bottom of the relegation table. On the surface, an away loss to Toluca is not entirely damning. Considering the circumstances and the look of the loss, it is much more so. With their few games played, their relegation percentage can still swing wildly. A few big points can move them out of the bottom spot quickly, but the room for error is getting smaller. They need to hope recent results are not indicative of things to come.

Similarly, Puebla's home draw with Cruz Azul should not be a crushing result. It just is. Chivas moved five points ahead of them this weekend with their win over Pachuca. Leones Negros are technically below them at the moment, but they can change quickly. Puebla isn't scoring goals and holding on for scoreless draws may not be enough to save them. They should now be considered the most likely team to be relegated at this point. A lot can change with 75%+ of the season remaining; Puebla needs that change soon.

In other relevant scores, Veracruz secured a draw in Monterrey. That point puts them in a better position and keeps their improbable undefeated streak alive.

TABLA DE DESCENSO *

15. Veracruz - 55 games played - 59 points - 1.0727 ppg

16. Chivas - 89 games played - 95 points - 1.0674 ppg

17. Puebla - 89 games played - 90 points - 1.0112 ppg

18. Leones Negros - 21 games played - 21 points - 1.0000 ppg

Jornada 5 looks like another daunting one for our fearful four. Veracruz has the most favorable match-up with a reeling Queretaro visiting. Assuming they keep the intensity they've been playing with of late, sharks over roosters in this one.

Both Chivas and Puebla have tough road tests ahead of them. Puebla travels to the Volcan for a match with Tigres. The normally sure-thing Tigres have been quite the opposite thus far. They are still a formidable opponent, however. They also may be reaching a similar desperation level as their relegation-fearing visitors. A home loss to Puebla will be unacceptable for Tigres and their many supporters. This is an unenviable position for Puebla.

Chivas don't have it any easier. They travel to Torreon  for a Friday night match with Santos Laguna. Santos have found a bit of form and will present a challenge. Chivas are playing about as well as they have in years. This one is not only important for the relegation battle, but it is clearly the match of the weekend. This could go either way, but I expect it won't go either. I have a 1-1 draw here.

Finally, Leones Negros and Atlas will be facing off in their shared home stadium. Atlas present a difficult opponent. They have the defense to stifle the attack of Leones Negros and will surely be afforded plenty of scoring opportunities. Leones Negros enter inexplicably confident, but it's hard to see them leaving with a single point.

 

 

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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.

** Moral victory points will be tallied and the team with the highest total at the end of the season will be awarded with a pizza party at the location of their choice. The stakes could not be any bigger.

*** Artwork is used under a Creative Commons license from seyed mostafa zamani

 

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