Two draws halt Barca Advancement
Barcelona has played three matches in the previous 15 days, but two draws in that time means they aren’t as close to the title as they’d love to be. First came a thrilling 4-4 draw with Villarreal with just two goals in the last five minutes to rescue a point.
Then came that hugely significant 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid, their closest challengers for the crown, in a match that looked to have killed off any last immunity in their rivals. Diego Costa was disregarded before half an hour had been played for the visitors, while Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both bagged late aims to wrap up the things.
And it was presumed that the momentum would then proceed into the weekend’s match against Huesca. However, in a uncharacteristically lackluster screen, the Catalan giants could only muster a goalless draw from the side of their league and with only five wins to its title all season.
Bar??a’s lead stays at a couple of points and they should still go on to lift the league title sooner rather than later. They are priced at only -200000 to do this and sponsor Real Sociedad next time outside looking to move 1 step closer to the crown.
Atletico keeps up the fight
Atletico has also played three games in the previous 15 days, winning two of them. First came a comfortable 2-0 win over Girona that seemed to have put them in good stead for that trip to Barcelona.
But a 2-0 loss to Barcelona seemed to have ended their title hopes for the year. Diego Costa’s dismissal was ultimately costly and Atletico could not hold out for some time.
But with Barcelona dropping points this weekend, Atletico’s 2-0 win over Celta Vigo has enabled them to cut the gap to nine points. Aims from Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata were enough to seal all three points, but Atletico’s inconsistent form over the next half of the campaign has stopped them from sustaining their title challenge.
As a result, Atletico has become all the way out at +20000 to win their first La Liga title in half a decade and just a brave soul would back them to do so at this late juncture. Their next league game is a visit to Eibar and it goes without saying that three points is an imperative if they are to maintain pushing Barcelona.
Real looks down and out Just one win in their last three league matches seems to get left Real Madrid down and out, and also their final few games of the season look to be largely meaningless. First came a disastrous 2-1 defeat away into an in-form Valencia side that finished Zinedine Zidane’s bright beginning back into the managerial hot seat.
There was then a less than convincing display in a 2-1 success over Eibar. Real was forced to come from behind in the second half and just a brace from Karim Benzema spared their blushesthe winner finally coming just nine minutes from time.
This made Monday night’s excursion to Leganes even more critical, but Real dropped points once again, being held to a 1-1 draw. Again, Real dropped behind; again, Karim Benzema came to their rescue with all the equalizer.
Actual is now a substantial 13 points behind Barcelona with only six matches left to play, and their title challenge is all but over. They are presently out at +100000 to win the crown and next time out they take on Athletic Bilbao.
Barcelona maintained its 10-point direct near the top of La Liga with a comfortable 2-0 win over local rival Espanyol this past weekend. Lionel Messi bagged a brace late in the match to wrap up the things and, with just nine matches staying until the conclusion of the season, it appears like the Catalan giants are well on their way to retaining their national crown.
However, their title challengers are not giving up without a fight, together with Atletico Madrid thrashing Alaves 4-0. And Real Madrid managed to edge past Huesca with a narrow 3-2 success, but in all honesty that the operation was far from convincing.
Barca defeats Espanyol to maintain lead
Lionel Messi scored twice in the second half as Barcelona listed a 2-0 win over Espanyol last weekend. Messi scored a fine free kick before making certain of the points a minute from time as the winners implemented a quick counter-attack.
The Argentine has scored 22 goals in his last 15 outings and as Barcelona seems set to win the league crown once again, Messi’s flame shows no indication of dimming. He has now scored 40 goals in a season for a decade in a row.
And there’s absolutely no doubt that Barcelona has become the most powerful side in La Liga over the course of the effort. They are the only side to have won more than 20 league games (21) and they have lost just twice all season — in addition, they are the leading scorers in the league (75) by some distance.
But their chances on retaining their domestic crown remain the same, at a very reduced -20000. Next up for them is a trip to an out-of-form Villarreal outfit.
Atletico gets back to winning ways
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid put an end to some two-game losing streak with a 4-0 thrashing of Alaves. They got off to a flying start using Saul giving them the lead after just five minutes, and from that instant Diego Simeone’s side never return.
Diego Costa doubled their lead after only 11 minutes of play, and Alaves just had no answer to their rampant visitors. Atletico assaulted in waves and looked dangerous whenever they entered the last third. In truth, they might have been three or four up prior to the interval.
Unfortunately, the stark reality is this performance looks to have come far too late to make any difference to Atletico’s name challenge. Despite sitting moment, Atletico has won fewer games than Real Madrid so much this year, and their four losses in such a brief space of time have hurt them badly.
They have scored just 43 goals so far this word — Sevilla, down in seventh, has scored more — and while they have the best defensive record in the division, it has not been enough to mount a continuing title challenge. Their odds remain the same to acquire the crown in +4000 and they sponsor Girona in their second league outing.
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