May 7, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT
This year more than most, England and Spain’s title races have reminded us not to take anything for granted. That’s a step forward from last year, when races across Europe’s five biggest leagues were decided by May. This year, however, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City have taken turns in the driver’s seat in the Premier League, seemingly emulating the shuffle between Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, and Real Madrid in Spain.
La Liga’s race took another subtle, unexpected turn today when Real Madrid dropped points at relegation-embattled Real Valladolid. Despite starting the day in 18th place, Valladolid was able to earn a draw from the Champions League finalists, with an 85th minute goal from Osorio making the Merengues pay for their inability to build on Sergio Ramos’s 35th minute opener.
Real Madrid had 62 percent of the ball. They out-shot Valladolid 21-6, but perhaps resting on their early goal, the Merengues only put three of their shots on target. With the one shot Valladolid managed on Iker Casillas, Osrio beat the Real Madrid keeper on a ball sent in after a corner, adding another turn to La Liga’s best title race in years.
Coming off a weekend in which Spain’s big three earned a combine two points, the suddenly has a wide open feel, particularly with the table’s top two teams destined to face-off on the last day of the season. Here’s what Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, and Real Madrid have in store over the season’s last 2 games:
(All matches played on May 11 and 18)
Atlético Madrid (currently 28-4-4, 88 pts.)
- versus Malaga
- at Barcelona
Malaga is currently in 13th place, has lost two in a row, and have nothing to play for. In the teams’ first meeting of the season, Atletico claimed a 1-0 win, with Koke’s winner coming in the 70th minute. Switching from Andalusia to the Vicente Calderon, Atletico would normally be good bets to improve on that result, but after their weekend loss at Levante, anything seems possible for the Colchoneros.
Forecast: Win, draw – 92 points
Barcelona (27-4-5, 85 pts.)
- at Elche
- versus Atletico Madrid
Saturday’s draw with Getafe left the team’s title hopes in tatters, but one point between the Madrid teams on Sunday meant Barcelona actually gained ground on Atletico. The big question is whether the team has the confidence to complete this title push. The Blaugrana have two wins in six and haven’t won by more than one goal since April 5. They’ll need to be at their best to claim their first win of the season from Atletico, even if we haven’t seen that level since March 23’s win at Real Madrid. Sunday’s trip to Elche, a team they beat 4-0 in Catalonia, should help.
Forecast: Win, draw – 89 points
Real Madrid (26-6-4, 84 pts.)
- at Celta Vigo
- versus Espanyol
Two points from Atletico, and Real Madrid’s title hopes end. Their ideal scenario: Atleti go loss-draw, taking from Barcelona on the final day. If that happens, the Merengues can stay on track for a three-trophy season, provided they win out. Real Madrid has won its last three against Celta and has taken three straight 1-0s from Espanyol.
Forecast: Win, win – 90 points
Jul 28, 2015, 10:08 PM EDT(Edit)
Close to 80,000 saw Barcelona move to 1-2 in three ICC matches. Barca finishes off its tourney vs. Fiorentina in Florence on Aug. 2.
Jul 28, 2015, 9:16 PM EDT(Edit)
Thank goodness Haris Vuckic’s brother follows his career over the web.
Jul 28, 2015, 7:16 PM EDT(Edit)
Something tell us the exhibit won’t bring in the same sort of interest as the actual wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, but it does fit the bill of organized crime.
Jul 28, 2015, 6:11 PM EDT(Edit)
Here’s hoping MLS makes the idea of this contest laughable in the next decade, if not sooner. Like tomorrow.
Jul 28, 2015, 5:39 PM EDT(Edit)
Who takes over the ship, one in which the majority of the hands reportedly liked playing for Herrera?
Jul 28, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT(Edit)
The nation has now changed men’s national team managers 15 times since 2000, and only two of those changes were caretaker moves.
Jul 28, 2015, 1:59 PM EDT(Edit)
Here’s a look at some of the top deals from another busy day across Europe.
Jul 28, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT(Edit)
Legendary French midfielder is red-hot favorite to replace Blatter.
Jul 28, 2015, 12:35 PM EDT(Edit)
Can the Eagles surprise everyone again? With Cabaye running the show, don’t rule it out.
Jul 28, 2015, 11:25 AM EDT(Edit)
The latest gossip includes a cryptic message from Benzema.
Jul 28, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT(Edit)
Mourinho: “In my opinion he should be in the top three.”
Jul 28, 2015, 9:54 AM EDT(Edit)
England international has been ripping it up for City in preseason.
Jul 28, 2015, 8:15 AM EDT(Edit)
Putin: “People like Mr Blatter deserve special recognition.”
Jul 27, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT(Edit)
The Premier League’s big boys each play once more in the USA before heading back to England for the start of the new season.
Jul 27, 2015, 8:39 PM EDT(Edit)
Afellay makes four ex-Blaugranas on the books at Stoke, where Mark Hughes is aiming for European qualification.
Jul 27, 2015, 7:56 PM EDT(Edit)
As Bayern chase their fourth straight Bundesliga title (it would be a first), Mats Hummels says the league’s other teams need to stop fearing them.
Jul 27, 2015, 6:06 PM EDT(Edit)
Drogba has arrived in MLS, and he even got to choose which team he’ll play for — kinda.
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