La Liga Table Week 31: Updated Standings After Saturday's Fixtures

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2014

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi scores a penalty during a Spanish La Liga soccer match against Espanyol at Cornella-El Prat stadium in Cornella Llobregat, Spain, Saturday, March 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez

The epic race at the top of the La Liga table continued in Week 31 as the clubs jockeying for position in the top four did little to create separation when all was said and done on Saturday.

Of course, it would be erroneous to not examine the rest of the table after Saturday's exciting action, as the mess below the top clubs is in no way close to being sorted out with a few matches to go.

Let's take a look at the updated table with Saturday's action in the books.

La Liga Table (as of 3/29/14)
1 Atletico Madrid 31 24 4 3 +47 76
2 Barcelona 31 24 3 4 +64 75
3 Real Madrid 31 23 4 4 +54 73
4 Athletic Bilbao 31 16 8 7 +19 56
5 Sevilla FC 31 14 8 9 +9 50
6 Real Sociedad 30 14 7 9 +10 49
7 Villareal 30 14 6 10 +14 48
8 Espanyol 31 11 7 13 -2 40
9 Valencia 30 11 7 12 +1 40
10 Levante 30 9 10 11 -11 37
11 Celta Vigo 31 10 6 15 -10 36
12 Granada 30 10 4 16 -12 34
13 Rayo Vallecano 31 10 3 18 -34 33
14 Malaga 30 8 8 14 -9 32
15 Elche 30 7 10 13 -17 31
16 Almeria 30 8 6 16 -24 30
17 Osasuna 30 8 5 17 -26 29
18 Getafe 30 7 7 16 -21 28
19 Real Valladolid 30 5 12 13 -19 27
20 Real Betis 30 5 7 18 -33 22


Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol

Manu Fernandez

Thanks to Lionel Messi (who else?), Barcelona gets a major boost in the odds they retain their Primera Division title.

Messi's penalty with 14 minutes left settled the derby, which is a familiar sight as his third successful penalty in six days. He said afterward, with a bit of breathing room established for Barcelona, that his side is at the form they would like to remain:

The kick was a thing of beauty as it maneuvered past goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, but the real focal point should be Barcelona's inability to convert on quality opportunities, as eight shots on goal and 72 percent possession still resulted in a narrow victory.

There is little time to rest for Barcelona after a furious first period and tranquil second, as the first four spots remain in flux.


Celta Vigo 1-0 Sevilla

BILBAO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 16:  Manuel Agudo 'Nolito' of RC Celta de Vigo runs with the ball during the La Liga match between Athletic Club and RC Celta de Vigo at San Mames Stadium on September 16, 2013 in Bilbao, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Image
David Ramos/Getty Images

Rinse and repeat.

A late penalty from Nolito allowed Celta Vigo to edge Sevilla in a massive upset.

Unai Emery's side had won six in a row entering the fixture and had even taken down Real Madrid days earlier, but Saturday held possession just 39 percent, committed 12 fouls and only took three shots on goal.

As Sergi Dominguez of Espcore illustrates, it was a vital win for Celta Vigo:

After a lackadaisical approach for most of the contest, Sevilla seemed to awaken after the goal, but Celta Vigo goalkeeper Yoel Rodriguez Oterino denied both Nicolas Pareja and Carlos Bacca in stoppage time to finish things.


Atletico Madrid 2-1 Athletic

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 26:  Diego Costa of Club Atletico de Madrid controls the ball during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Granada CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium on March 26, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

It took an epic comeback for Atletico Madrid to remain atop the Primera Division after Saturday's fixtures.

Things got off to a rocky start as Iker Muniain found the back of the net with five minutes played. Diego Costa then took over with a goal halfway through the first half before Koke put Diego Simeone's side up for good 10 minutes after the restart.

Koke spoke about his side's big performance after the match:

Atletico now have 76 points as pursuit of their unexpected crown continues. With assists expert Koke and the seemingly score-at-will Costa leading the charge, it is only right Atletico sits atop the table.


Real Madrid 5-0 Rayo

Andres Kudacki

A putrid week had a happy ending for Real Madrid, as Gareth Bale took charge and scored twice to take down Rayo Vallecano with ease.

Bale's solo goal in particular was a thing of beauty:

Cristiano Ronaldo was in on the action early as well. Despite just 45 percent possession, Real Madrid was able to avoid a historic stretch and snap a two-match losing streak.

Madrid remains just a few points behind Atletico and appears back to form, so expect things to continue to be tense.


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