Amid Barcelona’s collapse, the La Liga title race has become the most exciting title race in Europe

Before Barcelona welcomed Real Madrid in the Camp Nou for El Clasico, Barcelona was running away with the La Liga title. Sure they drew Villarreal but they were still the odds on favorite to easily win the treble. Even when Barcelona lost to Real Madrid, Barcelona was still a heavy favorite. Now that they got eliminated from the Champions League and lost to Real Sociedad and Valencia, things in the La Liga title race have really opened up with just five games left.

Just four weeks ago, Barcelona was cruising to their 24th La Liga title. They were up eight points on Atletico Madrid and a massive twelve points on Real Madrid. Considering Barcelona only lost two games before that and except for El Clasico, every game for the rest of the season would be easily winnable, Barcelona had an insurmountable lead.

Then Barcelona drew to Villarreal 2-2. Even though it was a draw and two points Barcelona should’ve gotten, it was more of a blip in the radar back then. Even though Barcelona drew, they still extended their lead over Atletico because they lost to Sporting Gijon 2-1. So even though Real won and gained three points, they were still ten points behind Barcelona while Barcelona extended their lead to nine.

Then, entering April, Barcelona lost to Real Madrid and while Barca was a favorite and Real had to come back from a goal down, the game could have gone either way and was realistic for Liverpool to lose. That, along with an Atletico win moved things closer as Atletico drew to within six points and Real was seven behind.

Even though Barcelona was winless in two games, they were still in a rather comfortable position and their toughest game is out of the way. They have a two game margin over the two teams so they could have still coasted to the title.

After struggling to a win in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals against Atletico Madrid, Barca struggled once again and lost 1-0 to Real Sociedad. Now things are starting to panic and the realism sets in that things aren’t as they seem in Barcelona. Wins by the Atletico teams put the margins down to three and four points and then people started talking about the possibility of a three team race.

That was until this past weekend and possibility went to reality. It is a three team race for the La Liga title. Barcelona suffered their third loss and fourth winless game in a 2-1 loss to Valencia and another win by the Madrid teams put everyone within a point. Atletico Madrid is tied for 1st and Real Madrid is a point behind.

Should Barcelona panic that they will lose the title? Let’s just say this. Barcelona will face the current 13th (Deportivo La Coruna), 18th (Sporting Gijon), 14th (Real Betis), 15th (Espanyol) and 17th (Granada) place teams in La Liga to close out their season. If Barcelona cannot finish it off and win La Liga with this schedule, it’ll be one of the biggest collapses in modern soccer.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp

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