Match-to-match guide for La Liga title race: Barca, Atleti or Real?
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | April 19, 2016
Barcelona’s remarkable slump in recent weeks has blown the title race for La Liga wide open, with Madrid clubs Real and Atletico now firmly back in with a chance with just five games of the campaign to go.
Catalan giants Barca will be slightly more buoyed by the fact that their remaining fixtures are against teams in 13th place or lower, however, and are still odds-on 2/5 favourites with Coral to defend their crown.
Los Blancos (5/1) are the in-form side of the Spanish top flight, winning each of their last seven, but arguably have the more difficult run-in on paper having to face the likes of Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Valencia.
Meanwhile, Atleti (7/2) have tricky tests against outfits such as Athletic Bilbao, Malaga and Celta Vigo, so it is all set up for one of the most thrilling La Liga finishes in years.
Find out below Coral’s match-to-match guide and title race predictions…
Barcelona fixture list
- Points: 76
- Played: 33
- Barca beat both in head-to-heads
Wednesday, April 20th v Deportivo La Coruna (A) – Draw
Being in 13th place, Deportivo are the current highest placed team that Barca will face, though a draw could be on the cards as the Catalans aim to get back in form to claw themselves over the finish line first.
Saturday, April 23rd v Sporting Gijon (H) – Win
Gijon gained a surprising win over Atletico a month ago, but Barcelona should be able to make light work of the team placed 18th in the table.
Saturday, April 30th v Real Betis (A) – Win
Betis haven’t gained a point over Barca in three seasons, and have conceded 15 goals against them in the past four meetings. By now Luis Enrique’s men should be past their blip.
Sunday, May 8th v Espanyol (H) – Win
Espanyol have gained some good results against decent opposition of late, but tend to lose in this Catalan clash.
Sunday, May 15th v Granada (A) – Win
Granada have lost just two of their last eight as they look to avoid the drop, though a final day battle with Barca may just confirm their relegation.
Coral’s final points prediction for Barcelona: 89 (2nd)
Atletico Madrid fixture list
- Points: 76
- Played: 33
- Atleti beat Real in head-to-heads
Wednesday, April 20th v Athletic Bilbao (A) – Draw
There are arguably four La Liga teams in top form of late, and Bilbao, along with Real Madrid, Las Palmas and Atletico Madrid are on of them. A draw is a likely result.
Saturday, April 23rd v Malaga (H) – Win
Malaga may be in eighth place, but are top of a mini league that means they are just five points off 15th place. Atleti should have no trouble seeing them off.
Saturday, April 30th v Rayo Vallecano (H) – Win
Vallecano have caused some problems for city rivals Atletico in recent seasons, while a win last time out over fourth-placed Villarreal was a surprise too. But back Atletico on hoe soil.
Sunday, May 8th v Levante (A) – Win
Levante sit very precariously in the league, being two points from safety, and relegation-threatened teams aren’t as dangerous in Spain as they are in the English Premier League.
Sunday, May 15th v Celta Vigo (H) – Draw
This could be the match that spoils Atletico’s title hopes, as Celta have already beaten the capital club this season away in the Copa del Rey and have lost just one of their last five meetings in all competitions with them.
Coral’s final points prediction for Atleti: 87 (3rd)
Real Madrid fixture list
- Points: 75
- Played: 33
- Real lost to both in head-to-heads
Wednesday, April 20th v Villarreal (H) – Win
Real have looked unstoppable of late and, with the Yellow Submarine having win just two of their last seven, it’s difficult to see them gaining any points away.
Saturday, April 23rd v Rayo Vallecano (A) – Win
While Atletico have had some issues facing Vallecano, Real have not. A 10-2 victory is just one of many thrashing Los Blancos have inflicted on their smaller neighbours.
Saturday, April 30th v Real Sociedad (A) – Win
Beating Sevilla and Barcelona in successive matches this month is certainly impressive for a team like Sociedad, and this could represent Real’s toughest match. Zinedine Zidane’s side should just scrape past them, though.
Sunday, May 8th v Valencia (H) – Win
Since Gary Neville’s departure, the Bats have picked up a bit of form, but gaining points at the Bernabeu is perhaps a step too far.
Sunday, May 15th v Deportivo La Coruna (A) – Win
Being on a run of seven victories, Real will most likely have to win a further five more this season to win their first La Liga trophy since 2011/12.
Coral’s final points prediction for Real Madrid: 90 (1st)
So, we believe that in the end, head-to-head record between the three clubs won’t matter, and that Real can carry on their brilliant run and leapfrog rivals Atletico and Barcelona to the title.