Clausura 2016 Relegation Candidates

liga mx

Liga MX bids farewell to one team a year, with the team at the bottom of the Tabla de Cociente falling down to the second division, Ascenso MX, at the end of each Clausura season.

The way a team is picked for relegation in Mexico is rather unusual, with the team that has earned the lowest point-per-game average over the past three years (six seasons) being relegated. That means the team in last place in the general standings is often not the team in last place in the relegation standings.

So, who are this year’s candidates for relegation?

Dorados de Sinaloa, Monarcas Morelia, Chivas de Guadalajara, and Puebla are the main contenders, although Veracruz and Tijuana are also on the fringes of the relegation fight.

Tabla de Cociente – Relegation Zone

# Team Points Games Average
13 Veracruz 106 85 1.2471
14 Tijuana 106 85 1.2471
15 Puebla 100 85 1.1765
16 Chivas 96 85 1.1294
17 Morelia 94 85 1.1059
18 Dorados 15 17 0.8824

Dorados, as the recently promoted team, is a bit of an outlier. With just 17 games played in the first division, their point-per-game average is very volatile, with Dorados able to shoot up or drop down the relegation standings on a weekly basis, as the graph of these six teams’ ppg averages from the Apertura 2015 shows:

A week-by-week graph showing point-per-game averages in the Apertura 2015 season

A week-by-week graph showing point-per-game averages in the Apertura 2015 season

That volatility means that Dorados’ future will likely be uncertain right up until the end of the season. What looks like a safe lead can disappear after just one or two bad games, while what looks like an insurmountable deficit can also disappear after a handful of good results.

Morelia, Chivas, Puebla, Tijuana, and Veracruz, on the other hand, have all played 85 games and while a single win doesn’t radically improve their ppg average, neither does a single loss decimate it. Given the unpredictability of Dorados’ ppg average, these teams will concentrate on staying above each other.

Monarcas Morelia is the bottom of that heap, with 94 points from their 85 games, but Chivas de Guadalajara is only two points ahead of them. Those two are essentially neck-in-neck, and the meeting between them in Jornada 4 could end up being critical. Puebla, with a six-point lead on Morelia, has a little more margin for error, while Veracruz and Tijuana, who are both 12 points ahead of Morelia, are unlikely to find themselves seriously troubled by the relegation fight.

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