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La Liga Roundup, March 19

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We head into the international break—our players have three days off.

CA Osasuna v Villarreal CF - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Much attention is being paid to the race at the top of La Liga, but let’s start off at the bottom. Osasuna lost 2-0 to Real Betis at the weekend, and with 10 games left, they have a grand total of 11 points and are 10 points from safety. I think it’s safe to say that they can fill all the suitcases with fine Spanish ham they want, they’re not going to get enough “help” to stay up.

Osasuna are, in fact, threatening to be LEGENDARILY BAD. In the last 20 years, Sporting Gijon’s 1997-98 team holds the “record” for worst performance, finishing with 13 points. That club set a record as the only La Liga club to have been officially relegated before the end of March; Osasuna should avoid that distinction because of the vagaries of this year’s calendar, at least. Now it’s true, they still have the three teams ahead of them to play at home, but they have been equally bad home and away. In fact, if they don’t manage a home win this season (they haven’t so far) that would be another record!!

They do have some decent players—Sergio Leon, who came over from Elche, has 7 goals this season, and Alex Berenguer is a young midfielder with some promise—so Primera wolves will be circling.

The race for Europe took something of a weekend off. Athletic Bilbao played well but came up short against Real Madrid, Real Sociedad were beaten by Alavés, and Villarreal, of course, lost to Las Palmas, while Eibar could only draw 1-1 at home with Espanyol. Just 1 win in the last 6 for Eibar—not sure if it’s the effects of a small squad, or what. They do have a couple of weeks to rest before they play us, though.

It’s looking increasingly as though it’s a seven-team race for six European places, so our home matches against Eibar and Athletic Club will be key.

Meanwhile, the Champions League places continue to remain tantalizingly out of the Submarine’s reach. Unless we can defeat Atleti at the Calderon, and they struggle to the finish, it looks likely they’ll end up on 72 points, which would require us to win eight out of our remaining ten matches just to equal them. That’s a tough ask.

Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t note the excellent win by Celta Vigo to make it to the last eight of the Europa League. As happened to Villarreal last year, their quarterfinal draw was pretty kind. They should be able to get by Belgium’s Genk. It’s a fairly underwhelming group of quarterfinalists this year, to be honest. Lyon-Roma was worthy of a final!!