Ad­van­tage Barca in La Liga race

But Atletico and Real will hope the chase goes to the fi­nal day

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

The three-way bat­tle for the Primera Di­vi­sion ti­tle in Spain could come to a head this evening in the penul­ti­mate round of the sea­son.

Barcelona will clinch a sixth cham­pi­onship in eight years if re­sults go their way tonight but Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid will be de­ter­mined to keep things alive to the fi­nal day.

HOW CAN BARCELONA WIN THE TI­TLE TO­DAY?

Although Barca are level on 85 points with Atletico and only one point ahead of Real, Luis En­rique’s men could ac­tu­ally re­tain their ti­tle to­day.

That is be­cause they boast the bet­ter head-to-head record against both cap­i­tal clubs this sea­son, which would be de­ci­sive should they fin­ish level on points with ei­ther side. How­ever, for Barca to clinch the tro­phy with a game to spare they would not only need to beat city ri­vals Es­panyol but for Atletico to lose to rel­e­gated Le­vante and Real to drop points at home to Va­len­cia.

WILL THE MADRID CLUBS SUF­FER FOR THEIR EURO­PEAN SUC­CESS?

While both Atletico and Real will be ex­pected to win this week­end, it re­mains to be seen how they re­act to their mid­week Euro­pean ex­er­tions. The two ti­tle hope­fuls will un­doubt­edly be on a high af­ter reach­ing the Champions League fi­nal, but phys­i­cally the ef­forts in over­com­ing Bay­ern Mu­nich and Manch­ester City in their re­spec­tive semi-fi­nals could yet hand Barca an ad­van­tage.

ARE BARCA OVER THEIR RE­CENT WOB­BLE?

Barca were on course for his­toric back-to-back tre­bles not so long ago but a run of four de­feats and a draw in six matches saw them dumped out of the Champions League and their nine-point lead in La Liga whit­tled away to zero.

How­ever, since last month’s home loss to Va­len­cia they have beaten De­portivo La Coruna 8-0, Sport­ing Gi­jon 6-0 and Real Betis 2-0, sug­gest­ing they have re­cov­ered their form at just the right time with two games left in La Liga and a Copa del Rey fi­nal against Sevilla to come.

WHO HAS THE TOUGH­EST RUN-IN?

Barca’s tough­est match would ap­pear to be the derby against Es­panyol, with their fi­nal match com­ing at Granada.

Real’s hard­est test also ap­pears to be to­day, with a re­ju­ve­nated Va­len­cia vis­it­ing the Bern­abeu be­fore Zine­dine Zi­dane’s men sign off with a trip to a De­portivo side who have won once in 22 matches.

For Diego Sime­one’s Atletico, it is their fi­nal game against Celta Vigo which looks like it could pose more prob­lems than tonight’s match with Le­vante.

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