Saturday, May 19, 2012

Staying Up Late in Ligue 1

The standings at the bottom:

12 - Valenciennes: 40pts, GD -12 (home to Caen)
13 - Nice: 39, -8 (away at OL)
14 - Lorient: 39, -13 (home to PSG)
15 - Sochaux: 39, -21 (home to OM)
16 - Brest: 38, -8 (away at Evian)
17 - Caen: 38, -18 (away at Valenciennes)
18 - Ajaccio: 38, -23 (away at Toulouse)
19 - Dijon: 36, -20 (away at Rennes)
20 - Auxerre: 34 (relegated - home to MHSC)

There's only one 'six-pointer' in this, Valenciennes v Caen, but there's a lot of possible configurations for the final standings, so as I am trying to avoid worrying about MHSC's chances of winning the title, I have been trying to work them out*.

Dijon stay up if they beat Rennes and at least two of the four teams above them lose, with the outside chance also of overtaking Lorient or Nice if either of them get so massively tonked the current 7/12 GD gets overturned. This seems highly unlikely, but you never know with PSG. Anyway. Not looking good, but not totally hopeless as Ajaccio, Brest, and Sochaux could well get beaten.  But beating Rennes will be a big ask.

Ajaccio could stay up with a draw if two of the following things happen: Dijon drop points, Brest lose, Caen lose, or Sochaux lose by 3. If they win, they stay up if any of the five teams above them drop points, or Valenciennes lose.

Caen also could stay up with a draw if two of the following happen: Dijon drop points, Ajaccio drop points,  Brest lose, Sochaux lose by three. A win would see them stay up if any of Ajaccio or the four above them drop points (as they are playing Valenciennes).  If they lose, they're in a pickle if two of: Dijon win, Ajaccio or Brest draw or win.

Brest, and their highly suggestive goal difference, will stay up if they draw and any of the three below them drop points, or any of the three above them lose.  If they win, again any points dropped by any of the other teams other than Auxerre would see them safe.

Sochaux, mired in the red zone for much of the season, could still chuck it all away.  They go down if they lose, and any two of the following: Dijon win, Ajaccio win or draw with Sochaux losing by 3, Caen win / draw, Brest win / draw.  If they draw, they only need one of the three below them or two above them to lose.  If they win, they just need one of the same teams to drop points, or Valenciennes to lose.

Lorient could have fewer likely outcomes than some of the teams below them as PSG will be trying quite hard on Sunday evening.  If they lose, they will be looking for two of Caen, Ajaccio and Dijon to drop points. Or Sochaux to be hammered for an over 8-goal swing. A draw, and they only need one of the four below them or one above them to drop points, or Valenciennes to lose by 2.

Nice are OK if they lose if any two of the following: Lorient lose, Sochaux lose, Brest / Caen / Ajaccio drop points, Dijon don't beat Rennes with a 12-goal swing.  Get a point and they just need somebody from Valenciennes or the five below them to drop points. Think they're OK then...

Valenciennes could technically go down but only if they lose and Brest, Caen, Ajaccio, Sochaux all win, and Nice and Lorient pick up points.  If they draw, they're safe.

So - erm.....Dijon look gone, as they have to win to stand any chance. Ajaccio might just cling on with a draw (a win seems highly unlikely - admittedly, a draw is pretty unlikely) as Dijon will almost certainly drop points and one of the other losses needed will probably come in. But they seem the most likely two to join Auxerre in Ligue 2 next season.

Caen will be nervous, but with Dijon unlikely to win, they would need both Ajaccio and Brest to draw or better to send them down.  Brest could well manage that (Evian look a bit disjointed due to injuries and suspensions) but Ajaccio probably not.  Assuming Lorient lose, it would take a hell of an accumulator to put them down as Caen, Ajaccio and Dijon all winning would not be a treble to put on sober.

Thus - in conclusion the current bottom three will probably not change.  All that for that. Pah. Anyway...

*There's almost certainly at least one massive error in my workings here. Unfortunately there are no prizes for spotting one...sorry.