Real Madrid is unreachable in La Liga. Barcelona need more
The match against Sevilla at Ramón Sánchez Pixuan was one of the final tests of Real Madrid’s championship resilience, which Barcelona had questioned a month ago with a big win at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Catalans’ encouraging 4-0 victory was peppered with a series of defiant comments about their renewed claim to the title, despite Ancelotti’s still sizeable lead in the table.
Of course, there was hope that Real Madrid would shake after the big fiasco and give the struggling Barça a shot at a wild championship at the end of the season. A month after the disappointing El Clasico, we can state that the leader did not falter: “Madrid won three consecutive victories in the Primera (over Celta, Getafe and Sevilla) and, in the process, knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League.
In such a case, only Getafe were confidently defeated, while in Vigo they looked depressed and defeated Celta on penalties and Sevilla lost 0-2 after the first half. The defeat at Ramon Sanchez Pixuan could have given Barcelona a chance, and the Catalans must have been rubbing their hands at half-time yesterday, imagining they would reduce the gap in the table to six points. However, Real Madrid made an impressive repair, consolidating their lead and putting the championship intrigue into a coma.
10 points in 6 games will guarantee Real Madrid the top spot
After beating Sevilla by 75 points, their nearest pursuers are 15 points away: Barcelona, Sevilla and Atlético de Madrid have 60 points apiece in the standings. Of this trio, Barça stands out, having played two fewer matches than Real Madrid, Sevilla and Atlético. Thus, the Catalans are nine points behind leading Madrid in terms of points lost. It is clear that they need to win the missed matches, but Barcelona have at least a shadow of hope, unlike Atletico and Sevilla, as 15 points in 6 rounds are definitely not recovered.
The calendar of the remaining matches between Real Madrid and Barcelona
Real Madrid has 18 points in the draw. “Barcelona” needs the “Cream” to lose 9 or more, that is, the average number of points scored by “Real” in the remaining rounds should be 1.5 on average per game or worse. However, in the first round against these very teams, Carlo Ancelotti’s team scored exactly 9 points – victories over Atletico and Betis, draws with Osasuna, Levante and Cadiz, and another defeat by Espanyol.
Can we imagine that the second-round games will add up to a similar amount to the table? Probably, we can. First, uncomfortable opponents will play against Real Madrid, as evidenced by the results of previous head-to-head games. Secondly, many of their opponents will be extremely motivated by the tournament situation: Betis and Atletico are fighting for the top 4, while Levante and Cadiz are fighting for survival. Thirdly, Real Madrid will be distracted by the Champions League, with a game against Espanyol between the two semifinals against City and a meeting with Atletico four days after the return match against the Citizens.
Madrid will be losing points, perhaps even failing to win each of their remaining away games – against a struggling Osasuna, a principled Atletico and a pinned-down Cadiz. It’s unlikely that the “creams” will score less than 84 points, but even if they do, will Barcelona win all 8 of their remaining matches? The Catalans will face trips to Anoeta and Benito Villamarin, while the uncomfortable Celta and Champions League semifinalist Villarreal will come to the Camp Nou.