Enthralling La Liga Title Race
Barcelona celebrating winning the 2018/2019 La Liga Title | Photo: Miguel Ruiz-FC Barcelona

Barcelona have dominated La Liga in recent years, winning four out of the last five titles and eight out of the last eleven. Out of those eleven years, the three years where Barca did not win the league, they finished as runners-up. The previous two seasons have seen Barca win the title by 14 points in 2017/2018 and 11 points in 2018/2019; both of those seasons Real Madrid finished third, with Atletico Madrid finishing second. However, this season it is more than likely we are going have a top two that consists of Barcelona and Real Madrid, as the chasing pack are nine points behind second, which is Sevilla.

 

 

El Clásico

Unfortunately for fans we will not be seeing another El Clásico in the league this season as the teams have already met twice. The first fixture was back in December and it did not live up to the hype, as the teams played out a 0-0 draw. It was the first time since 2002, that the El Clásico fixture in the league ended without either teams scoring a goal.

However, the second fixture between the sides this season was played in March and was the second-to-last fixture both teams played before the temporary postponement of the season. Real Madrid were victorious, winning 2-0, courtesy of goals from Vinícius Júnior and Mariano. The game saw Barca have more possession but Real were more clinical with their chances. Real Madrid’s second goalscorer, Mariano, replaced Benzema in the 91st minute of the game and scored in the 93rd minute, with his fourth touch of the game.

The win for Real over Barca, saw them move to the top of the table by one point. However, their lead at the top would not last long, as Real lost the following week to Real Betis and Barca beat Real Sociedad, to move back to the top of the table, with a two-point lead.  

Barcelona’s Remaining Fixtures

Mallorca (a) – Leganes (h) – Sevilla (a) – Athletic Bilbao (h) – Celta Vigo (a) – Atlético Madrid (h) – Villarreal (a) – Espanyol (h) – Valladolid (a) – Osasuna (h) – Alavés (a).

 

 

Real Madrid Remaining Fixtures

Eibar (h) – Valencia (h) – Real Sociedad (a) – Mallorca (h) – Espanyol (a) – Getafe (h) – Athletic Bilbao (a) – Alavés (h) – Granada (a).

 

 

Based upon current league standings, Barcelona have the easier set of games. Barcelona play six out of the bottom seven teams, whilst Real Madrid play four out of the bottom seven teams. Barca still have to play; third, sixth and eighth place; whereas, Real play fourth, fifth and seventh place.

Away Form Issues for Barca

Barcelona have drawn four games and lost on five occasions. Eight out of those nine games have all been away from home. Barcelona have only dropped points at home once this season and it was the 0-0 draw with rivals, Real Madrid. However, their form away from home has been the issue for Messi and co. All five defeats in the league have come away from Camp Nou and they only managed to score in one of those games, during a 3-1 defeat to Levante. Out of Barca’s remaining eleven fixtures, six of those games are away from home; leaving the question, can Real Madrid be helped to the title by Barcelona’s poor away form?

Real’s Issue with Taking all Three Points

Real Madrid have lost three games and have drawn eight games so far this season. Half of the draws have been 0-0, whereas the other four draws have seen a goal in the 86th minute or later to level the game. On two occasions, they have conceded a goal in the final few minutes of the game that has cost them all three points (86th and 88th minute). The other two occasions, Real needed an 86th minute equaliser against Villarreal to level the game and a 95th minute goal from Benzema against Valencia to salvage a point. Only six teams in La Liga have drawn more games than Real this season but Zidane may have to start leading his men to take all three points if they are to win the title.

Previous Close Title Races

Although La Liga is primarily won by either Barcelona or Real Madrid, the majority of those seasons have resulted in the league being won, on the final day of the season. With the gap only being two points between the sides, it is likely that it will once again go down to the wire. The 2006/2007 season was the last time both first and second place finished level on points. The league was decided on the sides head-to-head record.

2016/2017 | Real Madrid claimed the title on the final day of the season, when they won 2-0 against Malaga. They won the league by three points, with Barca in second.

2015/2016 | For the second year in a row, Barcelona won the title on the final day of the season, this time by only one point; however, they had sat at the top of the table since Matchday 21.

2014/2015 | Barcelona won the title on the final day of the season by two points. A poor second half to the season by Real Madrid saw them give up top spot and Barca never slipped up.

2013/2014 | Atlético Madrid won the title this season by three points, it was the first time they had won the league in 17 years. It was the first time the title had been decided by a head-to-head match since 1951. Atlético drew 1-1 with Barca at the Camp Nou and if Barca would have one the game they would have been crowned champions. Real Madrid also finished three points behind the winners. A 2-2 draw in the penultimate game of the season to Celta Vigo, saw their title hopes crushed.

2009/2010 | Barcelona won their 20th La Liga title on the final day of the season, when they thrashed Valladolid 4-0. Real Madrid finished in second, only three points behind the winners.

2006/2007 | Real Madrid won the title in dramatic fashion, with both themselves and Barca finishing level on points. With four games left to play Real Madrid moved to first place due to their superior head-to-head record against Barca. In the penultimate game of the season, both Real and Barca drew. A Ruud van Nistelrooy goal in the 89th minute of Real’s game saw them only claim a point; however, a 90th minute goal for Espanyol against Barcelona stopped them from taking all three points and effectively ended their title hopes, barring a slip-up from Real in the final game of the season.

Golden Boot Race

There is no surprise to see Lionel Messi leading the top goalscorer race in La Liga. The Argentine has scored 19 goals so far this season and is being challenged for the award by Real Madrid forward, Karim Benzema, who has 14 goals. The Barcelona forward is looking to make this his seventh golden boot award in his career and his fourth in a row.

Lionel Messi | Photo: Bleacher Report
Lionel Messi | Photo: Bleacher Report

Who will be Crowned La Liga Champions?

Barcelona will be aiming to win their 27th La Liga title; whilst Real Madrid will be searching for their 34th title. The current leaders have been at the top of the table for fourteen matchday’s, whereas, Real, have been in first place for nine matchday’s. Although it is almost impossible to predict who will win the title, we are certain that this will be an enthralling end to the La Liga campaign and it one definitely not to be missed!

La Liga Table | Photo: BBC Sport
La Liga Table | Photo: BBC Sport

 

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