Posted on: July 11, 2020 Posted by: Charles Erb Comments: 0
Espanyol soccer flag

When Norwich City lost 4-0 to West Ham on matchday 34, it secured early relegation for the Canaries. With four matches left to play, Norwich are 20th in the Premier League and 13 points from safety. If you read my previous article about Premier League relegation candidates, which you can find here, you might know that I believed that Norwich were destined to be relegated but had the talent to at least climb up the table. Norwich still could finish higher but that’s unlikely and they will probably have to sell many players next season.

Norwich City now join a collection of six teams in the traditional top five leagues (France, Spain, England, Germany and Italy) that have already been relegated as of July 11. The French season ended early, and French clubs Amiens and Toulouse took to court to appeal their relegations.

They originally appeared to be safe but the French court changed its mind and blocked the decision to make the French Ligue 1 a 22-team league, meaning Toulouse and Amiens are relegated and Lorient and RC Lens are getting promoted.

France: Toulouse and Amiens

As previously mentioned, both Toulouse and Amiens have gone to court over the decision to relegate the Ligue 1 clubs. Amiens had a chance to stay in Ligue 1 had the season been continued, as Amiens were just four points behind Nimes, who will stay in Ligue 1.

However, Toulouse were an astonishing 14 points from safety with 10 games remaining. The club lost 21 games, scored the fewest goals, allowed the most, and had the worst goal differential with -36. The clubs’ top contributor is 32-year old captain Max Gradel, who has four goals and three assists in 22 games, including the game winning goal in Toulouse’s shock win over Lille, who finished in fourth place.

Toulouse did not look all that poor at the beginning of the season, but they somehow went on an 18-game winless streak after the Lille victory and ultimately deserve to go down.

Italy: TBD

Italy has a second tier team that has clinched promotion, Benevento, but no teams guaranteed to be relegated just yet. Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor, more commonly known as S.P.A.L., are currently in last place with 19 points, nine from safety, but they still have seven games left.

The current relegation zone consists of SPAL, Genoa and Brescia. Brescia actually have a very solid team, with veteran Mario Balotelli and Sandro Tonali, who is seen as the heir to Andrea Pirlo on the Italian national team. Brescia are seven points from safety with six games remaining.

Genoa have some big names in the squad, with Juventus goalkeeper Matt Perin and Torino striker Iago Falque, both in on loan. They also have former Ajax midfielder Lasse Schöne, best known for his Champions League Round-of-16 free kick against Real Madrid in 2019. Schöne has only contributed to five goals this season for Genoa, but has had some key moments including a game-winning assist against AC Milan.

Spain: Espanyol

Espanyol have suffered a massive fall from grace. And an immediate one. You could focus on the fact that Espanyol had spent 26 consecutive years in La Liga, but the more immediate fall is that Espanyol were in the Europa League this season, and now are relegated with three games remaining and are practically guaranteed to finish last in La Liga.

Espanyol have spent just one season in the second tier since 1930, and they finished first and were promoted. They have won the Spanish Cup four times, most recently in 2006, but Espanyol are commonly overshadowed as city neighbors FC Barcelona have been far more successful, and FC Barcelona added insult to injury by beating Espanyol in Barcelona’s stadium, Camp Nou, guaranteeing the relegation of Espanyol.

Germany: Fortuna Dusseldorf, FC Paderborn

I’ve already done several reviews on this, which you can find here and here. So this is a shortened review.

Paderborn were doomed to be relegated with multiple Bundesliga fixtures remaining. It was a miserable year as they finished with just 20 points, the second-fewest goals scored, and the most conceded.

Fortuna Dusseldorf were coming off a solid year, in which they finished tenth in the Bundesliga and looked to follow that up with a good season, making many additions, some on loan, including Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen. They were abysmal all season, and fell behind Werder Bremen on the final matchday after Werder beat Köln, and Dusseldorf lost to Union Berlin.

The final matchday events led to Bremen playing in the relegation playoff against FC Heidenheim. It was a tense, two-legged affair that ended 2-2, but Bremen won on away goals meaning that they stay in the Bundesliga.

Premier League: Norwich City

Norwich City have an incredibly young and talented squad, so how did they get relegated?

Norwich showed flashes of brilliance in a close loss to Liverpool and an early season win over Manchester City. However, Norwich have had a lack of goals all season, as top scorer Teemu Pukki has eleven goals, but just four other players have multiple Premier League goals. Liverpool have 15 players with multiple Premier League goals. Norwich as a team have just four goals more than Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy.

A lack of attacking is the reason Norwich are ultimately going down, but the goalkeeping (or lack thereof) plays a huge role as well. Tim Krul helped in the FA Cup run, because Krul is a penalty specialist. He isn’t a goalkeeper to build a team around, as displayed in his performance against Arsenal that involved a failed Cruyff turn that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took advantage of. And behind him, 36-year old Michael McGovern hasn’t been ideal, conceding six goals in the one and a half games that he played in, being subbed on once for an injured Ralf Fährmann, who had his loan terminated in March.

There is still so much that hasn’t been decided, so obviously there is still a lot to play for. If you have any questions for me, please leave a comment. Don’t worry if your comment does not show up, all comments must be approved due to the amount of spam comments received. I hope you enjoyed, and as always, keep watching soccer!

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