As we head into an international break, let’s pause for breath and – just for fun – predict how La Liga’s title race might pan out over the remaining ten games.
Starting with the reigning champions, Real Madrid are difficult to predict due to their habit of losing games you think they should win, and winning games you think they might lose.
And we have the added complication of their Champions League involvement, which could significantly condition their league challenge.
The first game back for Zinedine Zidane’s men should be straightforward – a home meeting with struggling Eibar. Three points.
Then comes El Clasico. It’s a fixture Real have dominated recently, winning two and drawing the other of the last three.
But Barca are undoubtedly in better form right now, so let’s sit on the fence and call this a draw.
Next up is away at Cadiz, who have already won in Madrid this season. The game comes immediately after El Clasico and Real’s Champions League tie against Liverpool, so they will be mentally drained and Cadiz can take a point.
Then we’ll give Real a run of three-straight wins – at home to Real Betis and Osasuna and away at Getafe. Then a tough one against Sevilla, who can hold Zidane’s men to a draw.
A victory at Granada will be followed by a draw at difficult Athletic Club, and another strong opponent on the final day – a draw at home to Villarreal.
That would give Real another 20 points, taking them to a total of 80.
What about the current leaders? Atletico return to action with a very tough game at Sevilla, where their last two trips have both ended with 1-1 draws. This one could easily be the same outcome, points shared.
Diego Simeone’s men return to Seville the following weekend to face Real Betis, who are in form but still a bit flaky – three points for Atletico.
A home win should be the outcome against bottom club Huesca, before a draw against Athletic Club in Bilbao. Next up, two wins over relegation threatened teams Eibar and Elche.
Then comes a potential title decider with a trip to face Barcelona at Camp Nou. Barca have an excellent historic record in this fixture and the way both teams are playing at the moment, they have to be favourites again here… Barcelona win.
Atletico can then finish with a run of three straight wins against opponents – Real Sociedad, Osasuna and Real Valladolid – who by that time may not have anything much to play for.
Those results would add 23 more points to Atletico’s tally, for a grand total of 89.
Finally, what about Barcelona? Well, the way they’re playing at the moment they look more than capable of winning every remaining game…
But surely they can’t sustain this level of performance for another two months… Can they?
We can expect Barca to win their first game back after the international break, at home to Valladolid.
Next up is El Clasico, where have already tipped them to share the spoils.
Getafe should be beaten at home, but then comes a real banana skin as they travel to take on a well-organised Villarreal who are battling hard for European qualification. This game also comes at the end of a week containing Barca’s Copa del Rey final, so they could well have to settle for a draw at Villarreal.
Exhausted Granada can comfortably be overcome at home, and mid-table Valencia shouldn’t present too many problems either.
Then Barca have the visit of Atletico which we have already said they will win, followed by a tough game at Levante who have already beaten Atletico and Real Madrid this season.
But they will have nothing to play for by then, so Barca can take the points – and then finish the season by making it six-consecutive victories with victories over Celta Vigo and Eibar.
By those calculations, Barca will pick up another 26 points, for a final total of 88 – which means that, if all these predictions are correct, Atletico will be champions, by one point.
Fasten your seat belts for a thrilling end to the season.