Real Madrid Take Upper Hand in Tight La Liga Race

With Chelsea already crowned Premier League champions, and the Serie A, Bundesliga and title races all but sewn up, La Liga is one of the few major European title still in play. While Atletico Madrid and even Sevilla contended for a time, the race has predictable boiled down to a struggle between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The two Spanish giants are tied atop the table on 87 points each. Barcelona hold a slight edge on goal differential, however, Real Madrid have a game in hand. That means that even if the Catalans win their remaining fixture, they must count on Real Madrid dropping points somewhere along the way.

Barça will welcome Eibar to the Camp Nou for what will be manager Luis Enrique’s penultimate game in charge. Despite their ups and downs this season, Barcelona haven’t lost at home in the league since September. The last time Enrique’s men met Eibar, back in January, they won 4-0 away.

However, even if Barça do the business as expected against Eibar, their only hope of winning a third consecutive title in a row, depends on the likes of Celta Vigo or Malaga somehow taking points off Real. It’s a tall order to say the least.

Their loss to Barça in last month’s El Clasico aside, Zinedine Zidane’s men are undefeated in La Liga since February. They beat Malaga 2-1 at home back in January and bested Celta Vigo by the same scoreline back in August. Zidane’s team has been in resplendent form this season, storming their way to a third Champions League final in four seasons and tearing off on a record undefeated streak earlier this season.

If Barça are looking for a ray of optimism, it could hinge on a slight tendency we’ve seen from this Real Madrid side to draw matches they should win. Even in the midst of the record 40-game undefeated streak that was snapped by Sevilla in January, Madrid drew against the likes of Barça, Eibar, Las Palmas and Villarreal.

Although if Real do beat Celta Vigo at the Balaidos Stadium Wednesday, a draw against Malaga on Saturday will suffice. The reverse is of course also true. A win or draw against Celta will see Real move to the top of the table. While it’s still within the realm of the possible for Barça to reclaim top spot and claim the title, it’s a difficult case to argue.

Even if Real Madrid does overhaul them in the title race, Enrique still has a chance to claim silverware in his final season in charge. Barcelona are still to face Alaves in the Copa del Rey final later this month.

But in the meantime, there is still a title race to contest.

Catch the final rounds of the most hotly-contested La Liga title race in years:

Celta Vigo vs. Real Madrid, Wednesday, May 17 at 3:00 p.m. EST, beIN Sports

Barcelona vs. Eibar, Sunday, May 21st at 2:00 p.m. EST, beIN Sports

Malaga vs. Real Madrid, Sunday, May 21st, 5:00 p.m. EST, beIN Sports



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