Four days before the end of the Spanish championship, only six points separate the top four in the standings before their direct confrontations on Saturday and Sunday.
Two titanic shocks, no more and no less. While the title race is in full swing in La Liga, the top four in the championship, Atlético de Madrid (76 points), Real Madrid (74 points), FC Barcelona (74 points) and Sevilla FC (70 points) ) face each other this weekend, on behalf of the 35th day of La Liga. Two decisive meetings, which can change the situation.
Woe to the loser. FC Barcelona, 3rd, receives Atlético de Madrid, 1st, for the 35th day of La Liga, Saturday May 8 (4:15 p.m.). After the controversy over the meal at Lionel Messi’s, the Catalan club will aim for nothing more than a victory, which would allow them to take control of the championship at the best time. Opposite, the Colchoneros will try to keep their meager lead in this final sprint for the title of champion of Spain. At the end of January, Diego Simeone’s team were ten points ahead of their first pursuer, Real Madrid. Since then, the poor results and the injuries of some holders have hampered the good mechanics.
However, Atlético de Madrid can count on an unexpected hero to keep his chair as leader. Repositioned in a two-man attack, Marcos Llorente has changed dimension this season. The former Real Madrid midfielder has been decisive 15 times (seven goals and eight assists) for the Colchoneros since the start of the calendar year. Only Lionel Messi (27) and Gerard Moreno (16) do better over the same period.
But, of course, the light will once again be pointed at Antoine Griezmann against his former club. After a (very) delicate first season in Catalonia, the Frenchman is finally enjoying happy days. Very prolific, Grizou has scored five goals in the last five games, including a saving double against Villarreal (1-2) almost two weeks ago. “I have always been delighted with Griezmann, with his work. He improves his finish and he played a major role. It will give us confidence and us. We need players like him,” enthusiastic Ronald Koeman at a press conference after the victory against the “yellow submarine”. Alongside Lionel Messi, the 2018 world champion will be the main actor in this meeting, which the Catalans cannot afford to lose.
Two points separate FC Barcelona, 3rd, and Atlético de Madrid, leader, while 12 points are still at stake in the last four days of the Spanish championship. (FLORIAN PARISOT / FRANCEINFO SPORT)
If Sevilla FC’s chances of winning the title are compromised after their defeat against Athletic Bilbao (0-1) last Monday, the Andalusian club has, however, not said its last word in this race to the Grail. Julen Lopetegui’s men face Real Madrid, current La Liga runner-up, on Sunday, May 9 (9 p.m.).
The Merengues, who are two lengths from their hated neighbor Atlético de Madrid, must turn their heads right after their elimination in the semi-finals of the Champions League. And nothing better, for that, than a meeting against a direct competitor for the title of champion of Spain. To shine against Sevilla, they will have to count, as always, on a great Karim Benzema. Author of 21 goals and eight assists in La Liga, the Frenchman is walking on the water this season. He was decisive in 50% of Real Madrid’s league goals. The club’s second top scorer in La Liga, Casemiro, is very far (6 goals) from the former OL striker.
For Sevilla, the points record in a season in La Liga is in the sights of Julen Lopetegui. With 70 points in 34 days, the Blanquirrojos can match, or beat, the 76 points achieved by the team led by Unai Emery during the 2014-2015 season. But the former coach of La Roja still dreams of more than that since, mathematically, Sevilla are still in the title race: “We dream of doing better than the fourth place where we are now. We want to win all the matches, y including the one against Real Madrid, “warned the Spanish coach at a press conference after Sevilla’s defeat against Bilbao. Zinédine Zidane and his players have been warned.
Real Madrid can definitively exclude Sevilla FC from the race for the title of Spanish champion if they succeed on Sunday 9 May during the 35th day of La Liga. (FLORIAN PARISOT / FRANCEINFO SPORT)