It is halfway into the La Liga season and Barcelona lead the table by five points over second-placed side Atlético Madrid. Real Madrid will host Sevilla this weekend as two of the top four challengers square off. Here is a closer look at how the title race is turning out. Click here to bet on La Liga.
Barcelona are at it again and it looks like they will end up with their 26th domestic title. They began the season very well but were forced to drop points in September as commitments in the Champions League took a toll on them. However, recent outings point to a team that has fully settled and are ready to fire their way to the title. They have won their last five consecutive outings whilst scoring a total of 15 goals in the process. The rest of the title hopefuls have simply struggled to match their scoring exploits, leaving the leaders with a far superior goal difference to second-placed Atletico. Their record stands at 53 goals scored so far, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez contributing 31 of those. They have set themselves up perfectly for the second part of the season and other sides will have a difficult time keeping up with them.
Of all the title challengers, Atletico Madrid remains as the only team with a realistic chance of catching the Catalan giants. The Colcheneros are the exact opposite of Barcelona but, like their competition, they do get the job done. Unlike Barcelona who rely on their forwards, Atletico Madrid’s success is based on a disciplined defensive approach. They have only conceded 13 goals which represent the fewest in the league, with only four of those being conceded at home. They are yet to lose a home match this season and when you consider the totality of their circumstances, you will appreciate why they are the second best side so far.
Sevilla began their season with a lot of promise and even occupied the summit of the La Liga table in early October. However, recent results have seen them drop points to the extent that they are ten points behind league leaders. As things stand now, they are tied on points with fourth-placed Real Madrid, with a better goal difference. They have been very strong at home but their lack of consistency will be a source of worry for manager Pablo Machin. All is not lost though for them as they can still fight to remain in the top four. They will need to be wary of the threat posed by Real Madrid though if they are to finish third come May.
Real Madrid did not expect to occupy the fourth spot in the table at this time of the year when they began their season. However, a lot has happened since then following the firing of Julen Lopetegui as the head coach. Their troubles began in September when they went five consecutive matches without a win. Their trip to Barcelona was the straw on the camel’s back as the club moved to replace him with Santiago Solari, who took over on an interim basis. Things have looked much better since then and, if they can maintain the momentum, they could finish in third. We doubt that they will catch up with Barcelona, though they have enough to fight for second place.
Deportivo Alaves and Getafe have equally exceeded expectation to be considered amongst other La Liga title contenders this season. The two sides occupy the fifth and sixth position respectively, but it is Alaves who have a four-point cushion from Getafe. It is not expected that the two will win the title but finishing in the top six places is more than an achievement for the two sides. They have an identical record from their last five games and they will be meeting this weekend hoping to outdo each other. Whether Getafe can use the home advantage to narrow the gap will remain to be seen.