With only a few weeks remaining in the La Liga season, every single point is important. A club looking to move up from its current position cannot afford anything but a win in the upcoming matches.
This mindset will especially be true for the teams at the top looking to bring home a title. Atletico Madrid currently sit comfortably in first place, entering Week 35 with a four-point lead over Barcelona. Real Madrid are in third place at six points behind, but they have a match in hand after a week off.
Besides this race, the competition for next season's tournaments, as well as those avoiding relegation, create an exciting atmosphere heading into the weekend.
Here is a look at the latest league table and results from the week of action.
|April 26||Granada||0-3||Rayo Vallecano|
|April 26||Real Madrid||4-0||Osasuna|
|April 26||Real Betis||0-1||Real Sociedad|
|April 27||Valencia||0-1||Atletico Madrid|
|April 27||Athletic Bilbao||3-1||Sevilla|
|April 28||Celta Vigo||4-1||Real Valladolid|
via ESPN FC
The weekend got started with an exciting back-and-forth battle between Levante and Elche. Despite a scoreless first half, both sides had plenty of opportunities with shots that continually sailed just wide of the net.
Elche finally got on the board in the 63rd minute when Richmond Boakye drilled a shot from just inside the box. However, Levante were able to answer in the 74th minute on a score by Angel. William Abbs of Football Radar described the moment:
Levante level through Angel Rodriguez against his old club, who initially starts to celebrate but then changes his mind. Awkward.— William Abbs (@WilliamAbbs) April 25, 2014
While the two sides had a few more chances, neither were able to break the draw and it ended 1-1. Elche should especially be disappointed in the result as the home team held possession for much of the match and took 22 shots. Unfortunately, they were only able to leave with one point.
The action continued on Saturday with Real Madrid taking care of business with a 4-0 win over Osasuna. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in the win as the squad remained in contention for a league title.
They have already won the Copa del Rey and have a 1-0 lead over Bayern Munich in the semifinals of Champions League. While a treble will not be easy, it is not impossible. However, manager Carlo Ancelotti admitted that winning the upcoming match against Osasuna will be a tough challenge, via Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC:
The team will change a little but not much, because the game against Osasuna is important. We are trying to recover energy and to be focused because we are in the battle for the league title. The objective is to win all our games. It is not easy, as we used a lot of energy against Bayern. Physically we are not at 100 percent.
The latest win showcased the club's resolve and ability to perform well despite not being in top form.
While Atletico Madrid could come one step closer to clinching La Liga this week, a road win at Valencia will not be easy, either. The good news is that the current leaders have won their last eight league matches and have only conceded one goal in that stretch.
This is bad news for Barcelona, who are still hoping that the club in front of them in the standings will slip up somewhere. The players will certainly be playing with a heavy heart due to the death of former manager Tito Vilanova:
The FC Barcelona is in immense mourning. Tito Vilanova has died at the age of 45. May he rest in peace http://t.co/HH3WX5gRFw— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 25, 2014
Going on the road against Villarreal with numerous injuries all over the pitch, Barca will struggle to get a victory.
If any of these three top clubs fail to get three points, it could dramatically change the outlook of the league title.
Meanwhile, one of the more important matches of the week is between Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao. The latter had a significant lead for the fourth spot in next year's Champions League but a loss to Barcelona has narrowed it down to just three.
Sevilla have been in good form lately having scored at least two goals, four matches in a row, all of them wins. However, they have to be cautious about an aggressive opponent in Bilbao:
Most tackles won in the opposition half across Europe's top 5 leagues: Borussia Dortmund (148), Athletic Bilbao (137), Bayern & Lyon (136).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 24, 2014
Both teams know that this match could end up deciding which side finishes in a top four spot.
On Monday, another club concerned about next year will play as Real Valladolid takes on Celta Vigo while trying to avoid relegation. They come into the week tied with Getafe for the last spot remaining in the top-flight league. While they have a match in hand, that has not necessarily helped them this year.
A win could go a long way, but like everything else this week, it should be a competitive battle from start to finish.
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