La Liga is one of the best and most competitive domestic leagues in the world, and this season has not disappointed. While Real Madrid are at the top of the league table at the moment, Barcelona are hot on their heels and even Sevilla still have a chance of catching Los Blancos. In fact, Atletico Madrid in fourth will probably also fancy their chances of closing the gap between themselves and Real.
With club football currently taking a break due to 2018 World Cup qualifiers, now is a perfect time to look ahead to the rest of the season and discuss who are best placed to win the title. Madrid and Barcelona are the top two favourites, but could Atletico and Sevilla affect the title race?
Below we look at the title run-in and explore who between Madrid and Barcelona are better placed to clinch La Liga this season.
Madrid are currently at the top of the league table with 65 points from 27 matches. Zinedine Zidane’s side are two points clear of second-placed and bitter rivals Barcelona and have a game in hand; it is this match that is giving them a slight advantage at this moment in time.
Between now and the end of the season, Los Blancos have a number of matches that they should win with relative ease. Games against Leganes, Sporting Gijon, Deportivo La Coruna and Granada should yield a total of 12 points, while Madrid should win the match against Malaga away from home on the final day of the season.
There are three key games for Madrid in the title run-in – against Atletico on April 8, Barcelona on April 23 and Sevilla on May 14. All three matches will be tough, but what should be encouraging for Real is that all of them are at the Santiago Bernabeu. The 11-time European champions have won 11 and drawn three of their 14 league matches at home, and it is hard to see them lose to Atletico, Barcelona or Sevilla at the Bernabeu.
Barcelona’s performances in La Liga so far this season have not been too convincing, but their stunning comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League has given them an impetus and has enhanced their confidence. Luis Enrique’s side should be able to bag maximum points against the likes of Granada, Osasuna, Las Palmas and Eibar, but they do have some tricky fixtures ahead.
Winning against Sevilla even at Camp Nou is not going to be easy, especially as Barcelona’s defence is looking vulnerable at the moment. Jorge Sampaoli’s side are very attack-minded, and they are going to ask a lot of questions of the Barca backline that has kept just one clean sheet in the last eight competitive matches.
Then there is El Clasico against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu and the Catalan derby against Espanyol. Villarreal may not be in the running for the top four, but the Yellow Submarine are going to give them a run for their money at Camp Nou in May.
The La Liga title race is going to get only more competitive and tighter in the coming weeks. The clash between Madrid and Barcelona at the Bernabeu on April 23 will be key, and so will be the two clubs’ progress in the Champions League. Zidane has done a wonderful job at the Bernabeu so far, and the Frenchman is likely to guide Madrid to their first league title since 2012.