FC Barcelona cruised past Granada while both, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, dropped key points in match week twenty five of Spanish La Liga.
The competition for the Spanish title is becoming more intense and exciting with every passing match day in La Liga and it seems that there is always a new twist in the race towards the top flight title in Spanish football. Meanwhile, it is still a long shot but, Nuno managed Valencia are emerging as serious challengers to the big three of Spanish football as an impressive victory over Real Sociedad has put them just one point behind Atletico Madrid and six points behind FC Barcelona.
Thirteen gameweeks still remain to be played in La Liga this season but it is already becoming a more competitive one than ever as just 8 points separate the top four and even a single mistake could cost a team the title. So who will triumph in Spain this season? Will Real Madrid be able to maintain their lead for the next thirteen rounds? Will champions Atletico Madrid avoid the complacency and make a remarkable comeback in the dying moments of the league? Or will FC Barcelona maintain their excellent form and beat fierce rivals Real Madrid for the title? Considering the current form, team strength and the personnel available, here is the analysis of all three La Liga contenders and their chances of winning the title.
FC Barcelona lost an easy looking encounter against Malaga at Camp Nou last weekend and the gap between them and Real Madrid was increased to four points but the Catalans came back strongly this weekend and secured a highly impressive away win in a tricky game against Granada.
Luis Suarez has struggled to justify his hefty price tag in his early days at FC Barcelona. The former Liverpool man was under tremendous pressure to perform alongside Leo Messi and Neymar and the critics were leaning on Luis Enrique to drop the Uruguayan from the starting XI.
That though seems like a thing of the past now as Luis Suarez has come back strongly and looked in great touch. Suarez was on target for FC Barcelona in the Champions League game mid week against Manchester City and again helped the Blaugrana win a crucial away game against Granada on the weekend.
Like Luis Suarez, this FC Barcelona was struggling badly for form in late 2014 and not much was expected from Luis Enriquea s men in the new year but since their defeat at the hands of Real Sociedad, FC Barcelona have come back strongly.
Barcelona’s defence, especially Gerard Pique, looked vulnerable in early parts of the season but it looks solid now. New signing Ivan Rakitic has also helped in a great way as their midfield also looks stronger than last season, when Xavi was struggling to impact the games in his usual manner. The big plus for FC Barcelona, however, is the form of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
The attacking trio of FC Barcelona have formed an excellent understanding among themselves and the Blaugrana fans have high expectations from them for the remainder of the season.
Real Madrid looked unbeatable in 2014. Carlo Ancelottia s men were on a winning streak of 22 games before the Christmas break and the expectations were very high from them in the new year but they have looked out of ideas in 2015.
Real Madrid played against Villarreal this weekend at Santiago Bernabeu and Carlo Ancelottia s men looked horribly short of confidence against the Yellow Submarine as they had to settle for a draw. Real Madrid missed a great opportunity to secure a 4 point lead over FC Barcelona but they are still the favorites to win the La Liga this season as the backbone of their midfield, Luka Modric, is recovered now and he has the ability to change the fortunes of Los Blancos.
In the absence of Luka Modric and James Rodriguez, the midfield of Real Madrid has looked out of its depth on many occasions. Carlo Ancelotti has used Isco and Toni Kroos in the middle of the park to great effect but they cana t match the class of Modric and the Italian will hope for a change of fortunes once the Croatian returns from a long term injury.
This was a week to forget for Atletico Madrid fans. First Diego Simeonea s men lost an all important Champions League clash to Bayer Leverkusen and then, the Rojiblancos had to settle for a draw against Sevilla on Sunday.
Atletico Madrid players have failed to maintain the intensity of last year and their title hopes are fading with every passing week. Atletico were seven points behind leaders Real Madrid before this weekend. The Rojiblancos played against Sevilla on Sunday but they failed to create any substantial chances against the Andalusians in the entire game and had to settle for a draw.
Atletico Madrid are now five points behind FC Barcelona and seven behind leaders Real Madrid. Looking at the current form of their players and their rivals, it looks very unlikely at the moment that Atletico will emerge as the champions of La Liga in May and as such it appears that the real fight for the title is only going to be between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Instead, the club that is defying the expectations of experts and fans this season is Valencia. Los Che, who were taken over by billionaire Peter Lim in 2014, have 53 points, just one less than third placed Atletico Madrid, and they have big plans for the summer transfer window.
Valencia have some bright young players, like Paco Alcacer, Pablo Piatti and Jose Gaya, who look certain to make it big in years to come and they could pose a serious challenge to the Big Three next season.