Barcelona in pole position at the halfway point in La Liga to seal another league title, but could they be caught?
The New Year saw the league enter its halfway stage and we have taken that point to assess each team’s form and first half of the campaign.
The title race seems to have been a very open race at present, despite Barca’s recent form and slight breakaway at the top, but can they hold on or will their be pressure from the chasing pack?
The leaders have picked up some superb form of late and defensively they are proving very hard to beat and score against. Sitting five points clear of Atletico Madrid with 13 wins, four draws and just two defeats – Ernesto Valverde’s side look set to reclaim the title.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez sit first and second, respectively, at the top of the Pichichi standings and stopping them will now take some doing.
Diego Simeone’s side are doing what they normally do – winning games and keeping themselves in the race. Sitting in second place, Atleti have just one defeat to their name this term and have conceded the fewest goals in the league.
Their heavy reliance for goals on Antoine Griezmann, however, could determine whether or not their hopes of a league title come true at the end of the season.
The expiring contracts of Filipe Luis, Juanfran and Diego Godin could prove to be a bonus as all three will be wanting to bow out with a league title under their belt.
Pablo Machin’s side have been superb this term and they have played exciting football from the outset. A recent defeat to Athletic Bilbao has set them back a little bit, but they are expected to push both Atleti and Barcelona for the next few months.
Surely not? Madrid’s season has been a rocky one thus far. The sacking of Julen Lopetegui and form of Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Isco and Karim Benzema – has weighed heavy on the club, whilst the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo has seen Los Blancos lose a big threat.
Whether or not this current side can get themselves back in the title race remains to be seen, but Santi Solari will give it a good go, none the less.