Two draws Stop Barca progress
Barcelona has played three matches in the previous 15 days, but two draws in that time means they aren’t as near the title since they’d like to be. First came a thrilling 4-4 draw with Villarreal with two goals in the last five minutes to rescue a point.
Then came that hugely important 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid, their closest challengers for the crown, in a game that looked to have killed off any last immunity in their rivals. Diego Costa was dismissed before half an hour was played for the people, while Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both bagged late goals to wrap up these points.
And it had been presumed that the momentum would then proceed through into this weekend’s match against Huesca. However, in a uncharacteristically lackluster display, the Catalan giants could just muster a goalless draw against the side bottom of the league and with just five wins to its name all season.
Bar??a’s lead remains at a couple of points and they should still go to lift the league title sooner rather than later. They are priced at just -200000 to do so and sponsor Real Sociedad next time out 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 great stead for this trip to Barcelona.
However a 2-0 loss to Barcelona seemed to have ended their title hopes for the year. Diego Costa’s dismissal was finally costly and Atletico could not hold out for a point.
But with Barcelona falling points this weekend, Atletico’s 2-0 win over Celta Vigo has enabled them to reduce the gap to nine points. Goals from Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata were enough to seal all three points, but Atletico’s inconsistent form over the next half of this effort has stopped them from sustaining their title challenge.
As a result, Atletico is now all of the way out at +20000 to acquire their first La Liga title in half a decade and only a brave soul would back them to do so at this late juncture. Their next league match is a visit to Eibar and it goes without mentioning that three factors is an imperative if they’re to maintain pushing Barcelona.
Actual looks out and down Only one win in their last three league games seems to have left Real Madrid out and down, and their final few games of the season look to be mostly meaningless. First came a devastating 2-1 defeat away into an in-form Valencia side that finished Zinedine Zidane’s glowing start back in the managerial hot seat.
There was a less than convincing display in a 2-1 success over Eibar. Actual was forced to come from behind in the second half and only a brace from Karim Benzema saved their blushesthe winner eventually coming just nine minutes from time.
This made Monday night’s trip 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 the equalizer.
Real is currently a huge 13 points behind Barcelona with just six games left to play, and also their name challenge is all around. They are now outside at +100000 to acquire the crown and next time out they take on Athletic Bilbao.
Barcelona maintained its 10-point lead 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 points and, with just nine matches staying until the end of the year, it looks like the Catalan giants are well on their approach to keeping their national crown.
However, their name challengers are not giving up without a struggle, together with Atletico Madrid thrashing Alaves 4-0. And Real Madrid was able to edge past Huesca with a narrow 3-2 success, but in all honesty the performance was far from convincing.
Barca beats Espanyol to keep 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 sure of the things a minute from time since the champions executed a rapid counter-attack.
The Argentine has now scored 22 goals in his last 15 outings and since Barcelona looks set to win the league crown once again, Messi’s fire indicates no indication of dimming. He’s scored 40 goals in a season for a decade in a row.
And there’s absolutely no doubt that Barcelona has become the strongest facet in La Liga over the duration of the campaign. They are the only side to have won over 20 league games (21) and they have lost only twice all year — additionally, they are the leading scorers in the league (75) by some distance.
But their odds on keeping their domestic crown stay the same, in a really reduced -20000. Next up for these is a visit to a out-of-form Villarreal outfit.
Atletico gets back to winning ways
Meanwhile, the Atletico Madrid put an end to a 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 only five minutes, and from that moment Diego Simeone’s side never return.
Diego Costa doubled their lead after only 11 minutes of play, and Alaves simply had no answer to their rampant visitors. Atletico assaulted in waves looked dangerous whenever they entered the last third. In fact, they might have been three or four up prior to the interval.
Unfortunately, the stark truth is this performance appears to have come too late to make any real difference to Atletico’s name challenge. Despite sitting second, Atletico has won fewer games than Real Madrid so far this year, and their four losses in this brief space of time have hurt them badly.
They have scored just 43 goals so far this word — Sevilladown in seventh, has scored more — and while they have the best defensive record in the division, it hasn’t been sufficient to mount a continuing title challenge. Their chances remain the same to win the crown in +4000 and they host Girona in their second league outing.
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