Madrid, Spain | XINHUA | With just eight games remaining in the season the race for the La Liga title sees Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, and Barcelona within just two points of each other following Real Madrid’s 2-1 win at home to Barca on Saturday night and Atletico Madrid’s 1-1 draw against Betis on Sunday.
The title will be decided over the next six weeks and looking at the games remaining for each of the teams, it’s hard to say who has the easiest and who has the toughest run-in – although maybe Real Madrid will be quietly confident.
Zinedine Zidane’s men will be title winners if they end the season level on points with Atletico or Barca due to their better head-to-head goal difference and maybe have a slightly easier run in.
On paper, their toughest games are against Sevilla, Betis, and Villarreal (who are all fighting for a place in Europe), but all three of those matches are at home, as are games against mid-table Granada and Osasuna while their toughest away match is probably a visit to San Mames to face Athletic Club Bilbao.
Real Madrid will expect three points from their visits to play a depressed Getafe, while Cadiz (who won in Madrid earlier this season) will probably have nothing to play for.
Arguably the biggest problem for Real Madrid could be an accumulation of games if they progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Atletico Madrid faces home games against Eibar and Huesca who are both fighting to avoid relegation and while Osasuna is in no-mans land, Real Sociedad, who also travel to the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, is aiming for a place in Europe next season.
Atletico will travel to play Elche and Valladolid, two more sides currently battling against the drop, and also travel to San Mames. However, their key match could be a visit to the Camp Nou to play Barcelona in the 35th round of games – a game Real Madrid would probably like to see end in a draw with both teams dropping points.
As well as that home game against Atletico, Barca will entertain Getafe, Granada and Celta, with only Celta looking a real threat, while on the road things look more complicated with visits to Villarreal (battling for a place in the top-six) and Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium, where Valencia have won four and drawn one of their last five games.
They return to Valencia to play Levante and end the season in Eibar, who by then may or may not have already been relegated. The title could also have been decided by then, but looking at the calendar, don’t be surprised if it goes down to the wire.