We’ve now passed the half-way point in the season and there are three races taking place in Spain’s La Liga.
1. The Top. This is undoubtedly going down to the wire. We at Draftsoccer believe it will come down to 2 things to determine whether Barcelona regain the title, whether Real Madrid win their 33rd, or whether Atletico Madrid can shock them both to win their 10th title. The first thing, the head-to-head games. The second, injuries. We can’t predict injuries, but we can take a look at the upcoming games.
- Atletico-Barca’s first tie ended 0-0, and could the last game of the season at the Camp Nou be the deciding factor?
- Atletico surprised Real at the Bernabeu early in the season, winning 1-0, and making the statement that they were real contenders this season. With the two going head-to-head in the Copa del Rey twice in February, it will be interesting to see just how well they know each other when the return league fixture takes place in early March.
- The Classico. In October Barcelona took the home fixture, winning 2-1 on Alexis Sanchez’s nicely executed 2nd half lob. Will this season rest, as others have in the past, on the 2nd leg of the Classico? It just might.
2. Europe. There are 4 teams battling for 3 European places. Bilbao, Villarreal, Sociedad, and Sevilla. Our guess? Bilbao. Their strength at home, coupled with a pretty good road defensive record makes them our favorites for 4th. If we follow the adage that defense wins championships…or a least places in Europe…then Villarreal is looking pretty good for a Europa spot. Then it’s simply a case of whether Sociedad or Sevilla can steal that last spot.
3. The Bottom. We think that Vallecano and Betis are in a little trouble. Their points, and especially goal difference, is rooting them to the bottom of the table. The question is, who will join them at the end of the season? With 11 teams within an 8-point range, it’s really going to be tight. Will Osasuna and Almeria’s bad goal difference doom them? Or will Granada’s poor home form seal their fate? This is way too close to call at this point in the season.