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Football fans ... Stay humble in the highs and lows of the relegation battle

Everton's Richarlison reacts after hitting the post against Burnley during a Premier League match. Picture: Richard Sellers. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

Everton's Richarlison reacts after hitting the post against Burnley during a Premier League match. Picture: Richard Sellers. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

Published Apr 9, 2022

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Durban - The relegation battles across Europe’s top five leagues this season are testament to the fact that football works in cycles.

In the past, we have seen how the cycle works. Aston Villa who were the most successful English club from the Victorian era were relegated in 2016.

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In Germany, Schalke 04 who were regular participants in the Uefa Champions League until the early part of the last decade were relegated last season.

In England, Everton are in serious danger. The Toffees are one of the few “originals” of the Premier League era, having never been relegated from the top flight since the inception of the Premier League in 1992. After sacking Rafa Benitez, the Toffees’ form has not improved under Frank Lampard.

At the time of writing, Everton are one point above the relegation zone. It is unlikely that they would have made plans for demotion, like other teams such as Watford, Leeds United and Norwich City. They also have players who will aim for World Cup selection in Qatar this November and so may push for panic moves away.

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Two such players from Everton are current England first choice goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Brazilian attacker Richarlison. Both players will be hoping to lift the World Cup later this year.

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Things do not get any easier for the Toffees. They have upcoming games against Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea and end the season with a game against Arsenal.

In Germany, 2006/07 league winners Vfb Stuttgart are a candidate for relegation unless they make immediate improvement. Stuttgart have improved somewhat in recent weeks as they have now gone four games without defeat. However, they are above the drop zone by one point and have tough fixtures against Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich coming up next month.

In Italy, Sampdoria who were among the best in the country during the 1980s and 90s are involved in the relegation dogfight. Sampdoria are seven points clear of safety but they have three difficult games against Lazio, Fiorentina and Inter Milan awaiting.

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In France, 2009 Ligue 1 winners Bordeaux are dead last and looking like a likely candidate for relegation.

It was famously Bordeaux that ended Lyon’s former cycle of domination in France. By winning the Ligue 1 title in 2009, they ended Lyon’s streak of having won seven straight French top flight titles.

The lesson here is that football fans must be humble while their clubs are on top. While they are entitled to see their teams winning, they too will one day be brought back to earth as their teams will experience defeat and lows.

@eshliv

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