La Liga used to be known as a two horse race, the big two of Real Madrid and Barcelona. However, recently there has been a third horse to join the two arch rivals. That third team would be the other main force of Madrid, Atletico Madrid, led by Diego Simeone. Atletico shocked the entire world last year by ending the dominance of Real and Barcelona and claiming the La Liga title on the last game of the season. After the final game of the season, they edged out Barcelona solely by goal differential.
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When a La Liga season starts off, most viewers would expect either Barcelona or Real Madrid to have a dominant hold on the first place spot. However, this season has not followed the normal route. In the beginning of the season, Barcelona started off quickly, making short work of Elche at the Nou Camp, while Madrid had some trouble. Real Madrid continued to have some difficulty during the opening weeks of the season, dropping as low as 13th place in the league, while Barcelona kept the top spot. This continued on for about the first eight games of the season, before Real was able to take the top spot off of Barcelona. Since then, Barcelona has had their issues. There was talk that Enrique wasn’t the right man for the job in Barcelona, and then there was talk that Messi may be leaving his only club.
At one point, Madrid had lost one of their games and Barcelona had a chance to cut into the lead of their rivals, but they lost as well, thus the lead remained the same. Since the small stumble by Madrid, they have remained on point, winning all league opponents thrown their way, until recently.
In the 22nd week, Real Madrid came up against their city rivals of Atletico. Atletico owned Real since the opening whistle and ended up with a comfortable 4-0 win over the league leaders. This was another golden opportunity that Barcelona could not afford to pass up and they didn’t as they beat Athletico Bilbao easily, 5-2.
With this win, Barcelona climbs to within only a point of Real Madrid, and Atletico follow closely behind at only 4 points back of Real. With this Barcelona win, and Real Madrid loss, the league suddenly becomes a lot more interesting. What used to be a comfortable lead for Madrid has suddenly become a nervy time for them. They have to constantly be on point as one more slip up and a great game for Barcelona and we could have ourselves new league leaders. All eyes should be on the top 3 of La Liga for the remainder of the season to see if Real can hold on or if Barcelona will take back the title.
You can see the La Liga table here.