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With most of the top 5 European leagues just moving into the second half of the season, we wanted to take a look at some of the well-established clubs that find themselves potentially facing relegation this season. These clubs include sides that have been in the top flight for a number of consecutive seasons and/or have a history within the game of winning trophies. Not all of the teams mentioned below will currently be sat in the relegation zone but their performance may have been disappointing this season or their form suggests that they could well be dragged into a fight for survival. The leagues we will be taking a look at in this article are generally considered by most to be the top five leagues in European football.
Many fans of the Premier League might already be convinced that Fulham, West Brom and Sheff Utd will occupy the three relegation places come the end of the season, but this is a division renowned for nail-biting relegation battles that have often been dragged out until the very last day of the season. As far as form goes, Southampton are in the poorest form of any Premier League side right now, losing each of their last five league games, one of which ended 9-0. However, the Saints have recorded more wins than all of the current bottom three sides combined and have their eyes set on a top-half finish this season.
Burnley are one of the founder members of the football league and are a club steeped in history. The Clarets have won two league titles and one FA Cup during their 138-year history and have been in and out of the Premier League since 2009. As of the 2016/17 campaign, Burnley have remained in the top-flight and even claimed European football in 2018 for the first time in 51-years. Currently, Burnley sit 17th in the Premier League table and were one of the early favourites to go down following a lack of spending on new players in the summer. However, Sean Dyche has started to pick up some good results and his team have the best defensive record of all the bottom half sides apart from Arsenal. Scoring goals has been a big issue for Burnley and this could end up being their downfall in the second half of the season.
Since the start of the 1980s, Real Valladolid have been somewhat of a ‘yoyo club' due to the number of promotions and relegations they have been involved in that have seen them switch between La Liga and the Segunda Division. From 1980-1992 Valladolid established themselves as a top-flight side and even won the shortlived Copa de la Liga title during that period, a cup that only Real Madrid and Barcelona also claimed between 1983-1986. The club finished 6th in the 1988/89 campaign and finished runners-up in the Copa del Rey to Real Madrid that same season. Valladolid only spent one season back in the second tier before earning another long spell, 1993-2004, in La Liga. Since then the club has suffered three relegations and three promotions and have now been in the top-flight for the last three campaigns.
Real Valladolid slipped into the relegation zone last weekend and are currently winless in their last five matches. However, a win in their next game could see Real Valladolid move as high as 15th and the club have scored more goals than the majority of the teams in and around them so far this season. However, poor form can be hard to turn around once the rot sets in and even a draw in their next game could result in the club dropping down another place if Elche claim all 3pts in their game. There are a number of teams separated by just 6pts in the bottom half of the table and none are particularly established at this level.
Cagliari first established themselves in Serie A during the 1960s, winning promotion to the top flight in 1964 and remaining there until 1976. During that period, Cagliari won their one and only Serie A title, finishing 4pts clear of Inter Milan, and just missed out on a Coppa Italia title. After suffering relegation at the end of the 1976 season, Cagliari spent three campaigns back in the second tier before returning to Serie A for another 4-years. The club slipped into the third tier during the late 1980s, but since 1990 the club has spent all bar six of their campaigns in Serie A. Cagliari have spent the last five seasons in Serie A but haven't finished in the top half of the table during that period and could make a return to Serie B in 2021.
The club currently sit 18th in the table in the relegation zone and are without a win in their last 13 league games. That kind of form put Cagliari at genuine risk of relegation this season, but there is some hope yet. Cagliari have scored more goals than both of the teams below them and have a better defensive record than three of the clubs currently positioned above them. Once crowned the best team in Italy, Cagliari are almost certainly going to be involved in the relegation battle in Serie A this season, one which could go all the way down to the last game of the season.
Schalke are the joint-third most successful club in German football, behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, having won 15 trophies along with Werder Bremen. The Gelsenkirchen club have won 7 league title and 5 German Cups, and have even been successful on the European stage, claiming the 1996/97 UEFA Cup.
However, despite being an ever-present in the Bundesliga since 1991 and coming very close to winning the title on a number of occasions during that period, Schalke are staring relegation in the face. With just 8pts from their opening 20 matches, Schalke find themselves rock bottom of the Bundesliga this season, 9pts from safety. Nobody has conceded more goals or scored fewer goals than Schalke in the 2020/21 campaign and even though the club signed Mustafi from Arsenal in January, it is almost impossible to see this once great club escaping relegation this season.
Nantes may have only been founded 77-years ago, but this is a club with a great history in French football. Nantes have won 8 top division title in France, as well as four domestic cups, and have gone far in European competitions.
Nantes have been in Ligue 1 for the last 8 seasons but that run could well come to end in 2021. The club currently occupy one of the relegation places and are without a win in their last five matches, seeing them slip 3pts behind 17th placed Lorient. The two teams below Nantes don't have as good of s defensive record and haven't scored as many goals as the third from bottom side, but Nantes must end their winless run now before they slip really far behind the teams above them.