The La Liga Santander title race is heating up at just the right moment, with Atletico Madrid dropping points, Barcelona picking up steam, and Real Madrid hanging on. Los Blancos are six points behind leaders Atletico Madrid but head into game week 28 with a boost after the return of Sergio Ramos and the fine form of Karim Benzema. The odds for this week’s games will be stacked. This week is a higjly anticipated week for sports in general, including horse-bettors.com, where some of the world’s finest in horse racing as the Cheltenham Festival, one of the most prestigious in the world, currently races on.
Atletico Madrid are lucky to still have a cushion at the top of the table because Simeone’s men have only two wins in their last five games, and their loss to Chelsea in the Champions League confirms their poor form. The Rojiblancos will look to bounce back this weekend when they face Alaves who sit in eighteenth place and are battling relegation.
Alaves are on a poor run of their own, with four defeats and a draw in their last five matches. Their position in the table means they have a chance to fend off relegation, meaning they might be a problem for Atletico if Simeone’s men do not play at their best. Barcelona have the best form of the top three, and seem reinvigorated after the voting of Joan LaPorta back as president of the club.
Lionel Messi seems to have particularly benefitted from the move as the Argentine has found his scoring touch once again. Now out of the Champions League, the Blaugrana have all their energy to invest in the pursuit of Atleti and the La Liga crown. That pursuit continues in game week 28 when they face Real Sociedad on Sunday. Playing away to Sociedad has always been difficult for Barca, but an in form Messi will no doubt be a welcome sight.
Four wins in the last four games have Koeman’s men four points behind Atleti. One huge factor may be the El Clasico which is set to play next month. The winner of that game may well be the last real threat to Atletico and the Blaugrana will be keen on reestablishing their dominance over Madrid with a win. Real Madrid are six points adrift but just two behind Barcelona, meaning any slip up from the Catalans will see their rivals overtake or draw level with them, with the Derby fast approaching.
Madrid needed late-game heroics from striker Karim Benzema to get all three points but given their solid form and the boost of Ramos’ return, Los Blancos should be able to handle the task of handling a pesky midtable team in Celta Vigo. This is always a tricky game for Zidane’s men, but with the title at stake, there should be a burning desire to get on the front foot from the kick off. Real have looked solid in recent weeks, and have most of their key players back in the lineup again. Still in the chase for Champions League glory, Zizou’s men may have more to do than the other two teams ahead of them but that is part of the usual expectations at Madrid, one the team is very capable of handling.