La Liga Table 2013 Week 10: Updated Standings and Predictions for Matchday 10
The top of the La Liga table got a lot more interesting after Barcelona finally showed signs of mortality.
After winning their first eight matchups with a plus-22 goal differential, Barcelona shielded themselves from any intruders attempting to penetrate their first-place stronghold. But after playing 2-6 Osasuna to a scoreless draw, Barcelona opened the door for Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid to tighten the gap in the top-heavy fixture.
Atletico Madrid failed to capitalize, ending an eight-match winning streak of their own with a 1-0 loss against Espanyol. Real Madrid, however, inched closer to the top with a 2-0 victory over Malaga. They can further help their cause by handing Barcelona their first defeat of the slate this Saturday.
Here is how the La Liga fixture is shaping up heading into the next batch of matches along with predictions for each match.
|Rank||Club||Pts||Goal Diff.||Matchday 10 Opponent||Prediction|
|1||Barcelona||25||+22||Real Madrid||Barcelona (3-2)|
|2||Atletico Madrid||24||+14||Real Betis||Atletico Madrid (2-0)|
|3||Real Madrid||22||+10||Barcelona||Barcelona (3-2)|
|4||Villarreal CF||17||+8||Valencia||Villarreal (2-1)|
|5||Getafe||16||+3||Atletico Bilbao||Draw (2-2)|
|7||Atletico Bilbao||13||0||Getafe||Draw (2-2)|
|8||Valencia||13||-1||Villarreal CF||Villarreal (2-1)|
|10||Elche CF||12||-2||Granada CF||Draw (0-0)|
|12||Real Sociedad||10||-2||Almeria||Real Sociedad (1-0)|
|13||Malaga||9||-2||Celta de Vigo||Malaga (1-0)|
|14||Rayo Vallecano||9||-14||Valladolid||Valladolid (3-1)|
|15||Real Betis||8||-3||Atletico Madrid||Atletico Madrid (2-0)|
|16||Granada CF||8||-5||Elche CF||Draw (0-0)|
|17||Valladolid||7||-6||Rayo Vallecano||Valladolid (3-1)|
|19||Celta de Vigo||6||-5||Malaga||Malaga (1-0)|
|20||Almeria||3||-9||Real Sociedad||Real Sociedad (1-0)|
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
While Real Madrid can't assure a spot in first place, they can eliminate the gap between them and Barcelona with a win on Saturday.
Both teams will reside at 8-1-1 if Real Madrid can top their La Liga foes. Barcelona showed some vulnerability while failing to score against Osasuna, but don't expect another lackluster showing at the Clasico.
Who will win the Clasico?
Even with last weekend's dud withstanding, Barcelona have dominated the opposition, having scored the most goals (28) while allowing the least (six) through nine matches. That type of strength rarely vanishes for a team not suffering any significant injuries.
This is the type of bout fans dream of, pitting superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo against each other with one-name studs Pedro and Isco leading terrific supporting casts. Expect plenty of intense action, but look for the defending champions to maintain possession of first with a narrow victory.
Prediction: Barcelona 3, Real Madrid 2
Atletico Madrid vs. Real Betis
With the fixture's other two titans sparring against one another, Atletico Madrid must take this time to gain ground on at least one of the two clubs with a victory.
Sporting only two victories, Real Betis are hardly a powerhouse with nine goals through as many games. Although they played Real Madrid tough in their opener, they also have scored more than one goal just once, which presents a major challenge against the table's second-best scoring attack behind Barcelona.
Diego Costa has single-handedly notched more goals than Real Betis, and the 25-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down in his quest to lead the league in scoring. Adding one more to the tally might be enough to produce three points for Atletico Madrid, or at least ensure they don't exit with nothing.
Atletico Madrid enter Sunday as the heavy favorite, as this is not one they can afford to drop.
Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2, Real Betis 0
Villarreal vs. Valencia
It's hard envisioning a club outside of the top trio making a serious title push, but 17 other squads are at the very least vying to become the best of the rest.
Villarreal currently sport that honor with 17 points and a plus-eight goal differential. To maintain that spot, they must clash with Valencia, who have not won since Sept. 28 after reeling off three consecutive victories.
As Valencia attempt to break free from the middle of the pack, they will need a strong display from Jonas, who leads the club with four goals scored. It does not help that their opponents tout one of the league's stingiest defensive units behind goalkeeper Asenjo, which paves the way for a low-scoring contest.
Villarreal look like a stout squad in their own right, but they will be hard-pressed to crack the top tier occupied by the three teams ahead of them. A win against Valencia won't solve that problem, but it will at least keep them locked in at the No. 4 spot.
Prediction: Villarreal 2, Valencia 1
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