As the Premier League season draws to a close later today, the Spanish title race is still very much on.
Today sees the penultimate games in La Liga, with Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid still in with a chance of claiming the title.
The title is very much in the hands of Atletico Madrid. Atleti are currently three points clear of Barcelona and four points clear of city-rivals Real Madrid.
If Diego Simeone’s team win their game against Malaga this evening and defeat Barcelona at the Nou Camp on the final day they claim an unexpected title.
Even a draw at Barca on the last day would be enough for the side from capital, if of course they defeat Malaga.
However, Simeone’s team slipped-up at Levante last weekend, but so did their title rivals. Real Madrid’s midweek draw against Valladolid and last weekend’s draw with Valencia looks to have finished Real’s title chances. Los Blancos are now more likely to turn their attention to the Champions League final.
Barcelona also drew last weekend, but that draw could prove vital in the final reckoning, as it leaves the Catalan’s with a simple situation of win both games and they will claim the trophy.
The Barcelona players seemed to have given up the ghost in the race for La Liga. A number of key players came out after their home draw with Getafe and basically surrendered the title, but they have now been given a lifeline.
Gerardo Martino’s men now need to take that lifeline and go on to win those crucial games. Surely Barcelona’s experience will be key to the end of season run-in?
Atletico Madrid are very much the surprise package in La Liga’s title race. Real Madrid and Barcelona have a perennial battle for the title. However, Diego Simeone’s side have not been this close to winning the title in almost 20 years.
Simeone played in the last Atletico Madrid side that claimed the Spanish title in 1996. For much of the next two decades Los Rojiblancos have underachieved and been overshadowed by their neighbours Real Madrid.
Diego Simeone has slowly but surely built a team that has shocked and surprised opponents, both at home and abroad this season. The highly-rated Argentinian has turned his team into real contenders this season.
It would be a fantastic achievement for Los Rojiblancos to win La Liga and they could even still do a double of La Liga and Champions League. Simeone is already an Atletico hero, by the end of this season he could be a legend.
Atletico are not accustomed to being in a position like this in recent seasons. It will be a really test of nerve for Simeone’s side to win against Malaga, especially with star striker Diego Costa a doubt for the clash.
Simeone has shown tremendous managerial ability to inspire his team to great heights during this campaign and he has to help to keep his team focussed ahead of the last two La Liga games and the Champions League final. It is now a matter of holding their nerve.
This season’s La Liga title race has been one of the most exciting in recent years. It has been a refreshing change for Atletico Madrid to be challenging for the title, instead of a La Liga duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Just like the Premier League, it seems that La Liga could go right down the wire. The race for the Spanish league title has been simply exhilarating and it seems like the campaign could end in dramatic style.
A head-to-head between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid next weekend could decide the destination of the title. For a neutral it does not get any better than that.
Who will come out on top in the race for the Spanish title?