La Liga, week twenty-nine

La Liga, at week twenty-nine feels much like a completed tournament though there are nine rounds to go. It just doesn’t seem possible Barcelona will relinquish enough points to let anyone within striking distance of their title.

In fact, as Sid Lowe mentioned in The Guardian, for the past eleven weeks “the same nine teams have occupied the same decisive spots.”

At week’s end Barcelona was on top of the La Liga table with 75 points followed, eleven points down, by Atletico Madrid at 64, then, fifteen points off the pace, Real Madrid at 60, and finally Valencia, closing out the Champions League top four at 59 points or sixteen points away.

The top scorers modified somewhat as Barcelona’s Lionel Messi remained on top with 25 goals, followed by Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo with 22 (following his 50th career hat-trick, obtained on Sunday against Girona), Barcelona’s Luis Suarez with 21, Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann with 17 and Girona’s Cristhian Stuani also with 17.

The twenty-ninth round began on Friday with Levante’s 2-1 home win over Eibar.

On Saturday, Deportivo drew 1-1 at home to Las Palmas, Valencia defeated visiting Alaves 3-1, Getafe won 2-1 at Real Sociedad, Real Betis played poor hosts to Espanyol 3-0.

On Sunday, Leganes surprised visiting Sevilla 2-1, while Barcelona rode two early goals for 60 minutes to earn a home win over Athletic Bilbao. Real Madrid avenged their early season reversal against visiting Girona with a 6-3 win at the Bernabeu. Malaga held hosts Celta to a 0-0 draw, while Unes Unal came off the bench at the 74th minute for Villarreal and scored at the 82nd and 91st to erase Griezmann’s 20th minute Atletico lead and deprive the Madrid team of any realistic chances of reaching table leaders Barcelona.

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