If you think March Madness is crazy…try predicting who will win this year’s Spanish League Title or La Liga!
A few months ago, it seemed that everything favored Barcelona to once again take the title, but this year it’s a different story.
Being labeled the underdog pretty much all season…Atletico Madrid has taken the leadership and now sits pretty at the top…for now. With Real Madrid losing its last two matches…they have fallen to third place. Barcelona now sits at second, with only one-point difference with Atletico Madrid.
But don’t fret if you’re a Barcelona or Real Madrid fan…because there are still 8 matches left…and ANYTHING can happen.
Let me recap what happened in la liga.
Starting with Atletico Madrid, I feel that many haven’t really given them the credit they deserve, that most of the attention is focused on the other two contenders for the title, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Atletico has come a long way all season, being led by their coach Diego Simeone and by Diego Costa they now sit at the top and have given Barcelona and Real Madrid a run for their money. In today’s match, Atletico Madrid were up against Granada. The first half of the match remained scoreless…it would be until after halftime that Diego Costa would manage to find the net and give an advantage to his team. His solitary goal would send Atletico Madrid to the top. For their next match, Atletico Madrid will travel to Bilbao and face Athletic Bilbao…it is essential for Atletico to acquire as many points possible if they want to continue having a shot at winning the title, seeing as their competitors trail behind with slight differences…ranging from 2-3 points.
Secondly…after winning the “clasico” it can be said that Barcelona was pumped going into their next match against Celta Vigo. Young Brazilian sensation, Neymar would put the Catalans ahead at the fifth minute. But it would not be all happiness at the Camp Nou…as Barcelona’s goalkeeper Victor Valdes would land wrong on his right knee that would cause what later was found to be a torn ACL. Close to half-time Lionel Messi would bring some joy back to the fans as he would give his team an advantage of two-nil before going into half-time.
During the second part, Neymar would strike the net again and the match was now three-nil. Next up…the Blaugranas will match up against Espanyol, if they want to continue being in the running for the league title…they cannot lose valuable points. Analyzing Valdes’ situation a bit more, let’s recall that he was set to leave Barcelona in the summer, which could mean this was his last appearance as a Catalan since his contract will expire in the summer. Recovering from a torn ACL can take up to six months or more, which means Victor Valdes will miss the World Cup. Valdes joins the list of injured players that may or may not miss the World Cup…such as Radamel Falcao and Sami Khedira to name a few.
Lastly, and now in third place, Real Madrid went from being at the summit to falling to Sevilla. This fall would mark “los blancos” second consecutive loss. After falling to Barcelona, Real Madrid needed a win to boost their spirit and continue acquiring points…but it was not easy, as they would be facing Sevilla who sit just behind Athletic Bilbao in fifth place. Cristiano Ronaldo would find the net first and put lost Blancos ahead at the 13th minute. Five minutes later, Sevilla’s Carlos Bacca would tie the match and it would remain this way until after half-time when Bacca would find the net again at the 71st minute. The match would end 2-1, a score that would not favor “los Blancos” as they would fall to third place…and send the other contenders to the top. Real Madrid might have fallen twice…but they are still a top contender to win the title.
Let’s recall there are eight matches left in the season, and with minimal differences of points, it is essential for the top three teams to acquire as many wins as possible. Whether you’re a Barcelona or Real Madrid fan you have to admit that Atletico Madrid has proven many wrong this season…as they now sit at the top and have also qualified for the Champions League quarterfinals. It will be interesting to see who will win the title and if there will be any surprises.
P.S Can’t get enough sports? Go read this post and other sports posts at Grandstand University!