La Liga title fight stretched on to the final hurdle, once more it’s a battle between Real Madrid and Barcelona. The Spanish title is Real Madrid’s to win or lose on Sunday 21st of May.
The battle for La Liga title is decided on the final match day on Sunday 21st of May; Real Madrid who leads Barcelona By 3 points ahead of the matchday 38. There is a twist though, IF Real Madrid lose away at Malaga and Barcelona win their home match against Eibar, the title will once more travel to Barcelona. a draw against Malaga is enough for Real Madrid to secure their 33rd La Liga title, and their first since 2012.
The “only need a draw” setup is deceivingly dangerous. Because ever so often, that is what a team in that position aims for, a draw. Trying to secure the draw only leads to passive play, and passive play sometimes or even usually leads to a disaster. Prime example from earlier this season, a match which most football fans remember well: Barcelona v PSG in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie. PSG played passively throughout, especially in the critical stages. And the result was nothing short of a phenomenal European meltdown, an embarrassment to remember for years to come.
So what exactly is the setup at the la liga table?
- Real Madrid – 90 pts
- Barcelona – 87 pts
- Atletico Madrid 75 pts
- Sevilla 69 pts (UCL qualifying)
- Villarreal 64 pts (Europa League)
- Athletic Bilbao 63 pts (Europa League qualifying)
- Real Sociedad 63 pts
The setup is there, what does the match-up’s look like then?
La Liga matchweek 38, Friday 19th of May
- Granada 1-2 Espanyol
La Liga matchweek 38, Saturday 20th of May
- Sporting Gijon vs Real Betis – 16.00
- Deportivo la Coruna vs Las Palmas – 18.00
- Leganes vs Alaves – 18.00
- Sevilla vs Osasuna – 20.00
La Liga matchweek 38, Sunday 21st of May
- Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao – 15.45
- Celta Vigo vs Real Sociedad – 15.45
- Valencia vs Villarreal – 15.45
- Barcelona vs Eibar – 19.00
- Malaga vs Real Madrid – 19.00
The la liga title battle is not the only exciting aspect in the final match day of Liga BBVA. The other very interesting battle is for the UEFA qualification positions, Europa League to be exact. Three teams are fighting for the 2 Europa League qualification slots; Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad. Looking at the Schedule, the battle will be a nailbiter. Athletic Bilbao looks like they have the hardest of time on Sunday, as they will travel to the LAST EVER official match to be played in Estadio Vicente Calderon. It is almost certain that they will NOT travel back home with 3 points, or even 1. Atletico Madrid will give the roaring home crowd the “finale” the stadium throughly deserves.
Then again neither Villarreal or Real Sociedad have easy points to be expected either. Villarreal travel away to Valencia and Real Sociedad travel away to face Celta Vigo. As a betting man, i would stay as far away from those 3 matches as possible (with the exception of all out win for Atletico Madrid, but i rarely if ever bet on the home team, purely because of crappy odds due to “home advantage”). And even though both Villarreal and Real Sociedad are going in to the match as odds favourites. Bet365 marks Villarreal victory at 13/10 and Real Sociedad victory at 3/4, but those odds are horrible considering how difficult time both teams will have away at Mestalla and Balaidos.
Onwards to the La Liga title battle then, who is going to win La Liga 2016-2017?
Real Madrid is the odds on favourite to lift the title on Sunday, but Barcelona is still in the race, their faith though is in the hands of Malaga. In la liga, goal difference only matters if the league results of the 2 or more teams battling for the title is even; IE, aggregate scoreline of 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 and so forth. But as Barcelona holds a better head to head record in this season el clasico battle with a scoreline of 4-3, Barcelona would win if the team’s end up with same amount of points. That being said, it is highly unlikely that Real Madrid would succumb to a loss away at Malaga, it wouldn’t be unheard of, just highly unlikely.
As someone who has been following La Liga very closely for 15~ years now, i would dare to argue; That winning La Liga title is more important to Real Madrid as a club, than winning the 12th Cham pions League trophy. For their fans, Champions League might be the more important trophy though. But failing to win the national title for so long would be humiliating, considering they might win the 3rd Champions League trophy in just 4 years. More importantly, losing the la liga title fight, would elevate Barcelona. And THAT is something Real Madrid as a club OR the fans do NOT want.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) 18. toukokuuta 2017
Is there any hope for Barcelona fans dreaming of snatching the la Liga title in front of their rivals? Well, historically, yes there is. Going back some 25 years, back in 1992 Real Madrid was the leading team going into the final match of the season. Away trip to Tenerife. That match ended in 3-2 in favour of Tenerife, and in the end Barcelona title celebrations. One of the players from that match in 1992, will be involved in the La Liga title battle this season. Back then he was on the losing side, in Real Madrid shirt, on Sunday he will be in his last La Liga match as the manager of FC Barcelona. He knows that on the final match day, when the title is on the line anything can happen, because he was there when it happened once before.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) 19. toukokuuta 2017
Barcelona seem to think they still can win the title, but the la liga title faith is not on their hands. They need a helping hand, a helping hand from Malaga. It just so happens to be that a former FC Barcelona player will probably start the match against Real Madrid on Sunday. That player is Sandro Ramirez. For whom it would be a special moment in his career, he told reporters after the last match that he would love to help Barcelona win the title. There is also two former Real Madrid players in Malaga team, Diego Llorente (who is on loan from Real Madrid, and in La Liga the loaned players can play against their host club, unlike in Premier League) and Jose Rodriguez. One of them would unlikely feel that good if he scored the winner for Malaga, that man being Diego Llorente. Jose Rodriguez might not feel the same way, he only ever appeared twice for Real Madrid’s first team before being sold to German team Mainz05.
I am not one, who would bet for Barcelona to win the title on the final day. But if you happen to be one of the people who do think it’s going to happen, the odds for Barcelona celebrating La Liga triumph on Sunday are very generous, best odds right now are offered By Unibet; 11/1 (for comparison, Real Madrid is marked in at 1/20). It is unlikely, but not unheard of. If i find any worthy special promotions for the final match day of La Liga i will add them HERE.
I will update this post if/when something happens considering the La Liga title battle on Saturday/Sunday. Each and every match of the la liga final match day can be streamed, for more information check out how to watch football post. Other interesting matches are being played throughout Europe on the weekend, for example the Premier League matchday 38, all matches to be played simlutaneously on Sunday. Something which Jose Mourinho criticized heavily. As much as i despise the man he has a point, its also bad for spectators. The final la liga match day is scheduled better, with the teams still battling for something are playing at the same time, otherwise it is business as usual.