Atletico Madrid have leapfrogged Barcelona to take the top spot in the La Liga table. Luis Enrique’s men dropped points in the Catalan derby at the weekend, but the treble winners still have a game in hand.
Diego Simeone’s men registered their 13th win of the season against Levante at home. Partey netted the winner in the 81st minute of the match. The former La Liga champions got only two shots on target in the 1 – 0 victory at Vicente Calderon. They are now two points ahead of Barca after 18 match weeks, but the La Liga champions have played a game less because of the Club World Cup championship in Japan last month.
Barcelona were held in a goalless draw at Espanyol on Saturday. Out of their last six league games, Barca have won three and drawn three. It seems like a slump based on the standards that the Spanish giants have set for themselves over the last few years. They ended 2015 with 5 major trophies and based on their performances so far and the attacking talent they have at their disposal, they’re the indisputable favourites in all the competitions they are currently in. Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan have been registered as Barcelona players, and they will give more depth and strength to the world champions.
Real Madrid drew 2 – 2 at the Mestalla Stadium on Sunday. Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale scored one each for Los Blancos, but Gary Neville’s Valencia came back from behind twice to earn a well-deserved point. It is expected that Rafael Benitez will be relieved of his duties at the helm of Real Madrid very soon.
Benitez gave no clear answer and dodged questions related to his future at the Santiago Bernabeu.
‘I can only make sure that we work hard in every game,’ he said. ‘I thought we did that tonight, and I’m pleased with the players.’
The 55-year-old boss added: “We’ve played good football. In this game, we saw a great team out there who were in with a chance of winning it right up to the end.”
The ten-time European champions are only 4 points away from the top of the table, but it is believed the former Napoli and Liverpool boss has lost the dressing room. Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane is believed to take over and will remain the interim manager until the end of this season according to many trusted sources in Spain.
Following the draw at home, Valencia have dropped to the tenth position in the league table. Four draws and two losses in the last six matches will worry the Valencia faithful, and they’ll be hoping for a turnaround in the second half of the season.
Sporting Gijon, Rayo Vallecano and Levante are currently struggling at the foot of the table. Real Sociedad, Getafe, Las Palmas and Granada are also on the borderline, and the relegation fight will only intensify as the season progresses.