Who’s for the drop/coming up in LaLiga, Premier, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1
As the 2022-23 season enters the final furlong, we look at what teams are set for the drop and those sides dreaming of a place in the top flight.
As the 2022-23 season comes to a close, many teams across Europe’s top five leagues are still involved in dogfights at the foot of the table as other teams in the second tier have their sights set on the ‘holy land’ that is top flight football.
With just a handful of matches outstanding in the major leagues, we take a look at the teams bidding to avoid the drop and preview what sides could be taking their place at the top table in England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.
England: Premier League
With most teams having four games to play in the current Premier League season, only Southampton seem to have one foot in firmly rooted the second tier with the other two places in the drop set to be contested between Everton, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Leicester City.
Both Burnley and Sheffield United have confirmed their Premier League returns having secured the two automatic promotion places offered by the Championship.
With just one game to go in the regular season, Luton Town and Middlesbrough have secured a place in the play-off with the other two places set to be filled by: Coventry, Millwall who are currently fifth and sixth respectively. Those clubs can still be caught by Sunderland, West Brom or even mathematically Blackburn Rovers with all eyes of the outcome and permutations of matchday 46 in the second tier this weekend.
Having survived the drop last season, there was to be no such repeat this year for Elche as the side from the Martinez Valero mathematically became a ‘segunda’ team following their 2-1 loss to Almeria earlier this week.
With most LaLiga teams still having five/six games still to play, there are plenty of points on the table and even a side currently in 14th (Almeria) are still looking nervously over their shoulder, such is the congested situation at the foot of the table.
Both Getafe and Espanyol have hit poor form at the wrong time of the season but Valencia in 17th place would be one of the biggest stories of the season should ‘Los Che’ drop into the second tier with much social unrest at Mestalla.
Spain’s second tier LaLiga Smartbank is, year after year one of the most closely fought contests across the continent and this season is proving no different.
Despite topping the table for the bulk of the campaign, Eibar hold a slender two point advantage at the summit with just three points separating the Basque outfit and Las Palmas in fifth place. Granada (2nd), Levante (3rd) and Alaves (4th) will all have the eyes set on securing one of the two automatic promotion places with teams ending the season from third through to sixth also having the possibility of promotion via the play-off system.
There are four games outstanding in the 2022-23 Bundesliga campaign and having flirted with the drop last season, relegation seems a formality for Hertha BSC with one of Schalke, Bochum, Stuttgart and Hoffenheim set to join the side from the capital. Two teams are relegated automatically with the side that finishes in 16th place set to face the third place from Bundesliga 2 in a ‘winner takes all’ two legged play-off.
Both Darmstadt and Heidenheim are in pole position to secure a place in the top flight as they lead the way in Bundesliga 2 with four games left. The third and play-off position seems destined for Hamburg SV who are six points clear of the chamsing pack of Paderborn, St. Pauli and Fortuna Dusseldorf.
After eleven successive seasons in the Italian top flight, it appears that Sampdoria’s time in Serie A is coming to an end as the Genoa based side languish at the foot of the table some ten points from safety with just four games left in the campaign.
The ‘blucerchiati’ seem set to be joined by Cremonese who occupy the second of the other three automatic relegation positions having just three points more than Samp.
Verona, Empoli, Spezia and Lecce are the other sides involved in a dramatic battle to occupy the the final drop spot.
Frosinone are back in Serie A next season for the third time in the club’s history as they comfortably top Serie B. The are destined to be joined by the ‘other’ team from Genoa as fans of Sampdoria’s eternal rivals will relish a top flight return as their neighbours fall.
Teams from third through to eighth will dispute a play-off system to see who secures the final access to Serie A with Bari, Sudtirol, Parma, Cagliari, Pisa and Reggina all in the key positions with just three games left to play in the regular season.
France: Ligue 1
Angers are all but doomed to the second tier of French football for the 2023/24 season and appear to be joined by Ajaccio and Troyes. The final automatic relegation spot is set to become a four-horse race with Auxerre, Strasbourg, Nantes and Brest separated by just one point with five games set to be played.
Just two teams are promoted as Ligue 1 is set to reduce to from 20 to 18 clubs as of next season. Le Harve are set to return to the top flight with Bordeaux looking to finalise their one season in the exile of Ligue 2 but the side from the Dordogne will need to keep an eye on Metz who are just three points behind with five games to play.