Why Barcelona are La Liga title favourites
Barcelona moved within one point of league leaders Real Madrid at the top of La Liga over the weekend following Atlético Madrid’s 4-0 humbling of their rivals.
Luis Enrique’s side were able to close the gap with a 5-2 thrashing of Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
Here’s why Barcelona should now be considered the favourites to take the 2014-15 title:
Real Madrid’s Stumble
They’re still one of the best teams in the world, they’re still amongst the favourites to win both the UEFA Champions League and La Liga. But they’re not the team they were before Christmas.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side were on a 22-game winning streak until the New Year. During that run they were averaging 3.25 goals per game. That’s been cut down to 1.88 in 2015, which included only one short on target versus Atléti as they failed to score in a single game for the first time this season
Barcelona Are Flying
Whilst Real Madrid have been eliminated from the Copa del Rey and suffered defeats to Valencia and Atlético Madrid in 2015, Barcelona are flying.
Since losing to David Moyes’ Real Sociedad in their first match of 2015 it has been nine consecutive wins for Luis Enrique’s side.
Four of these wins have come in the cup, which does include two victories over Atlético Madrid – the side that eliminated Real from the cup and whom are six unbeaten versus their local rivals this season.
Lionel Messi is Back to his Best
Since speculation that Lionel Messi was heading to Chelsea in early January, and Cristiano Ronaldo winning the FIFA Ballon d’Or, Barcelona’s little Argentine has done wonders.
In 2015, Messi has scored nine goals and recorded five assists already in La Liga. Simply unreal.
On top of Messi on form, Barcelona arguably have the best front three in world football with the 2014 World Cup runner-up supported by both Neymar and Luis Suárez. Both of whom have been in good form of late too.
With Messi playing like this, it’s as if no one can stop him.
Real Madrid host Deportivo de La Coruña this weekend in a game they are widely expected to return to winning ways and win comfortably.
They then return to Champions League action with a trip to Schalke 04 in a second round tie they are expected to cruise through.
Fixtures come thick and fast and March is a big month for Ancelotti’s side. Potentially a Champions League quarter-final, after starting the month with La Liga matches against Villarreal (home) and Athletic Bilbao (away).
The weekend on 22 March is the big one for title race and for Spanish football ticket sales, one that could be a La Liga decider as they go to Barcelona. Real Madrid were winners in the first meeting earlier this season but right now both side’s form has changed. In the weeks between then and their trip to Camp Nou that can all change once again…