Here it is…. The last ten games of the 2014-2015 La Liga season. And, to be honest, it doesn’t look great. We definitely have a chance. Atletico aren’t in great from at the moment and it only takes a few dropped points to put us either out of touch or right in the thick of things. So, above is the remaining ten matches for us, Atleti and Valencia.
However, I reshuffled the listing of the games into more or less descending order of difficulty. In a very crude way, I then compared our matches with those coming up for Valencia and Atletico. I then went match by match and awarded a point to us or the other team when one matchup was clearly easier for us than them (or vice versa).
We look pretty balanced with Valencia. We have five that are easier than them and they have five that seem clearly easier than us. This is unsurprising since our schedules have been in parallel all season. However, its the composition that is more interesting. Our favorable matches relative to Valencia are the top end matches against Barca and RM. Our easy matches are mostly away from the RSP. This is good for us in some ways. Valencia is so in form that they are likely to only drop points in challenging matches. Away at Barca and RM would certainly qualify. So for us to catch them we need to be flawless in our trips away from the RSP and pick up some points in our more challenging matches as well (of course that’s not exactly revolutionary insight). Ultimately though, if I’m being honest, it seems hard to imagine we have a real shot at catching Valencia. They are all in La Liga… They’re my pick to finish third.
Switching to Atletico, we unfortunately aren’t looking much better. Although they play RM twice in the CL and this may be distracting to them, they don’t play them again in La Liga. Similar to us, they have a lot of winnable away matches, so they’ll have to handle business away, but they really are matches that they should win. We do still have a shot at catching them, but it would take a considerable continuation of poor form, some help from Villareal and a few others as well.
I maintain that while Europa is an enticing path the the CL next season, it is still much further than most here seem to think/feel. Yes, we have a good chance of beating Zenit (and are probably the favorites), but there are still two rounds waiting against what will undoubtedly be good and in-form teams.
I sure as hell don’t know how any of it will end, but we have a LOT of work left to do this season and a LOT to play for. I’m grateful every day to support a team that has given us such enjoyable and meaningful football almost every single season.