Barcelona had a free week from domestic duties as they sealed victory in the Club World Cup, but will have been pleased to see their closest competitor dropping points in La Liga. Atletico Madrid briefly kept up pace with the Catalans following a mini-slump by Luis Enrique’s side, but now the defending champions could go three points clear in the title-race if they win their game in hand in the division.
Atletico lost to Malaga on Sunday evening which meant Diego Simeone’s men missed out on the chance to dethrone the Catalans. Now Barcelona, who remain top of the table after 15 games, could pull away from the chasing pack if they can take advantage of their extra match to come. Real Madrid are still in the mix, but could go five points adrift of their fierce rivals having currently played a game more than Barca.
Barcelona the best side of the last decade
Barcelona are 2/9 to win the La Liga title this season, but have looked human of late following consecutive draws in the division. The Spanish giants allowed the likes of Atletico and Real back into the title race by dropping points, but their next three games in the league are against bottom-half opposition so Enrique’s men should return to form.
With Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar making up the best attack in Europe, it’s hard to look past Barcelona for the league title this season. They have dominated the division over the last 10 years, winning seven La Liga crowns, and once again the chasing pack just can’t seem to keep up for long enough. Barca will be buoyed after winning their fifth trophy of the year by sealing Club World Cup glory against River Plate, and they’re desperate to defend their league title.
The Catalans have already beaten their competition this season
Atletico and Real Madrid are the only sides to have won the title along with Barca in the last 11 years, and they are providing the most competition this season. However, Barcelona have already thrashed Real Madrid when the two sides met at the Santiago Bernabeu, and they beat Atletico 2-1 at the Vicente Calderon this season. So facing their two title-rivals at the Nou Camp in the second-half of the season sees them as favourites to come out on top.
Barcelona have a chance to make a statement by pulling clear at the top in their next outing, so can anybody catch them?