Seven matchdays remaining. Four days of La Liga action. Title implications, top-four battles and a relegation zone clash.
Yeah, things are getting really good in Spain's top league.
Below, you'll find an updated La Liga table and analysis of the weekend's action. It promises to be a compelling weekend.
|La Liga Table|
Osasuna opened the weekend with a huge, huge victory away from home against Almeria, winning 2-1. The victory not only vaulted the visitors out of the relegation zone, but it also landed them in 14th place on the table.
Oriol Riera opened the scoring for Osasuna in the 19th minute, and the visitors quickly doubled their lead in the 33rd minute as Alejandro Arribas found the back of the net. Fernando Soriano gave Almeria a shot in the 73rd minute, halving the deficit, but the home side didn't have another goal in them.
As PA Sport (via ESPN) noted, the win may be remembered in another long line of close calls and survival acts from Osasuna:
Barring a couple of exceptions—most notably in 2006 when they finished fourth—Osasuna have spent much of their time since winning promotion to the top flight in 2000 simply looking to survive.
They have managed to do that for 13 successive seasons now, although they have had more than a few close shaves, and could be on the verge of pulling off another great escape after Friday's morale-boosting away win.
The loss for Almeria, meanwhile, ensures they will be mired in the relegation zone for at least another week.
On Saturday, all eyes will turn to the top of the table as Atletico Madrid hosts Villarreal, Barcelona hosts Real Betis and Real Madrid travels to face Real Sociedad.
The Catalans should breeze to an easy victory, but the two Madrid sides will be tested. Atletico will be favored at home, but they'll almost assuredly be playing without superstar Diego Costa, according to Marca. That will make an already difficult task all the more challenging.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid faces a Real Sociedad that has taken 34 of a possible 45 at home, drew with Manchester United at home in the Champions League and has both beaten and drawn with Barcelona at Estadio Anoeta.
Making matters even more difficult for Real Madrid is that Cristiano Ronaldo won't play for the side, as Carlo Ancelotti told Reuters (via The Guardian):
We will rest Cristiano tomorrow because he is a bit tired. We want to avoid taking any risks, we have a lot of important games coming up. For this game we prefer to leave him at home to work so he can be ready for the match on Tuesday. He will be fresher and he can recover better. I spoke with him and we decided it would be better to rest.
In other words, it would hardly be surprising if Barcelona not only took over the top spot on La Liga's table, but also widened the gap between themselves and Los Blancos.