Round 15 of LaLiga is behind us and with it, we got introduced to a new team who has joined the title race as a replacement for Atletico Madrid, who are slowly but surely drifting down the leaderboard and out of the top six. That team is Sevilla, who have won their ninth game of the season and are now only one point short of reaching Real Madrid and Barcelona. That being said, Barcelona and Real Madrid remain the top two favourites to lift the trophy and other teams would have to produce something remarkable to take that away from them.
Barcelona defeat Atletico Madrid to secure their 10th win of the season
FC Barcelona ended round 15 of LaLiga with an important win against Atletico Madrid, who put up a solid fight Wanda Metropolitano but fell short against Messi and the company who handed them a very painful defeat, which just might have cost them a shot at winning the title.
In regards to the mentioned fixture, Atletico Madrid entered the match as slight underdogs, but it did not seem like it in the first half. Despite holding less ball at their feet (34% ball possession), Atletico Madrid were the more dangerous team, producing 12 goal attempts and two shots on goal. Barcelona on the other side had six goal attempts and only one shot on goal. While Atl. Madrid produced more goal attempts, they failed to be efficient enough to score a goal. The same can be said for Barcelona, who disappointed with one shot on goal, which amounted to nothing.
In the second half, we saw Barcelona put up a stronger show, yet it was not really a dominant display per se. Barcelona ended the second half with 66% ball possession, seven-goal attempts and four shots on goal, while Atl. Madrid disappointed with five-goal attempts and no shots on goal. Suffice to say, the hosts did not score a single goal, while Barcelona somehow managed to get past Atletico’s defence to score the game-winning goal in 86th minute. It was a rather slow match, and a disappointing fixture fort Atletico Madrid, who are now sitting at sixth place in the league, with a 6-7-2 record and 25 points to their name. That also means they are six points behind Barcelona and Real Madrid who on top of that also have one more match in hand.
Carvajal helps Real Madrid avoid disaster against Alaves
Real Madrid claimed their ninth win of the season against Alaves on Saturday, in a fixture that did not go as smooth as Zidane had hoped. Entering the bout as heavy favourites, a lot was expected from Real Madrid, who failed to justify their tag as favourites in the first half. Despite holding onto the ball for 71% of the time, Real Madrid failed to penetrate Alaves’ defence and produced only six goal attempts and three shots on goal. Alaves on the other side produced three goal attempts and no shots on goal. Suffice to say, neither team scored a goal, which was a solid outcome for Alaves who were chasing a draw. The second half was much more energetic, with both sides performing very well. Real Madrid opened the match with a goal in 52nd minute but suffered an equalizer in 65th minute, when Perez converted a penalty. Zidane’s men needed only four minutes to respond with Carvajal saving the day with his first goal of the season in 69th minute.
Alaves, despite being heavy underdogs produced five goal attempts and two shots on goal with 43% ball possession, while Real Madrid performed slightly better with six-goal attempts and three shots on goal. It goes without saying, Real Madrid severely underperformed, as a lot more was expected from them on that night. Their efficiency in the attack was lacking and their performance on the other side of the pitch was not praiseworthy either. That being said, they did earn a win, which is all that matters, as they try to keep up the pace with Barcelona.
With that win, Real Madrid (9-4-1) are now tied with Barca at the top of the league with 31 points, while Alaves dropped down to 14th with a 5-3-7 record and 18 points, which puts them seven points adrift of top six and 13 points behind the league leaders.
With round 15 of LaLiga behind us, the standings show Barcelona (10-1-3) and Real Madrid (9-4-1) at the top with 31 points, closely followed by Sevilla (9-3-3) with 30 points and Real Sociedad (8-2-5) and Ath Bilbao (7-5-3) tied ad fourth with 26 points. Atletico Madrid, who were seen as strong contenders for the title are now sixth with 6-7-2 record and 25 points. It’s also worth noting Barcelona and Real Madrid both still have one game in hand, as they still need to meet with each other in what will possibly be the decisive fixture in this year’s title race.