All three teams chasing the title in Spain faltered over the weekend, leaving Atletico Madrid as favourites to win La Liga despite their loss at Levante.
Atleti had won nine La Liga fixtures in a row before their trip to Levante but suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat thanks to a Filipe Luis own goal and a strike from David Barral. This opened the door for city rivals Real to move within striking distance when they took on Valencia later on Sunday evening.
Stat of the Day: Atletico Madrid conceded 2 goals on Sunday. They had conceded just one goal their previous 9 games. pic.twitter.com/tr1mpzflQm— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 5, 2014
However, Los Meringues could not capitalise on the opportunity and only managed a 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu. Twice Madrid were behind in this clash, and it took a 92nd-minute goal from Cristiano Ronaldo even to salvage a point.
Real Madrid only and first team in Europe's top-5 leagues to have scored +100 goals so far this season. pic.twitter.com/h1g0wCuR85— SocialRMadrid (@SocialRMadrid) May 5, 2014
This result leaves Real five points behind Atletico. Carlo Ancelotti's side have a game in hand, which keeps them in the fight, but their failure to defeat Valencia may well have cost them the championship.
On Saturday, Barcelona had missed their chance to put pressure on the league leaders when they drew 2-2 with Getafe at the Nou Camp. This was the biggest shock of all three results as Getafe are mired in the relegation battle, and Barca did not have the excuse of playing a Champions League semi-final midweek.
Per Sid Lowe of the Guardian:
First Football Club Barcelona lost the league, then Club Atlético de Madrid lost the league, and then Real Madrid Club de Fútbol lost the league. In the end, none of them lost the league. Not yet, anyway. But they came pretty close.
|May 5||Real Sociedad||9 p.m. BST (4 p.m. ET)||Granada|
|May 7||Real Vallodolid||8 p.m. BST (3 p.m. ET)||Real Madrid|
The title race is still open to the top three teams in the division: Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Atletico are in pole position, as they are the only one of the three that know two victories from their last two games secure the championship. They host Malaga on Sunday, which they will be expected to win, but then travel to Barca on the final day of the season, which is clearly a tough fixture.
If Atleti drop points in either clash, then it will re-open the door for Real, who still have three games to play. They are five points behind Atletico currently, but nine points from their remaining three games could be enough if their old rivals Barca do them a favour.
There are plenty of twists and turns to come, the first of which will come when Real Madrid travel to take on Real Valladolid on Wednesday. A win there puts them within two points of the leaders with two games left.
|May 10||Villareal||7 p.m. BST (2 p.m. ET)||Rayo Vallecano|
|May 10||Levante||9 p.m. BST (4 p.m. ET)||Valencia|
|May 11||Athletic Club||4 p.m. BST (11 a.m. ET)||Real Sociedad|
|May 11||Atletico Madrid||6 p.m. BST (1 p.m. ET)||Malaga|
|May 11||Elche||6 p.m. BST (1 p.m. ET)||Barcelona|
|May 11||Getafe||6 p.m. BST (1 p.m. ET)||Sevilla|
|May 11||Granada||6 p.m. BST (1 p.m. ET)||Almeria|
|May 11||Real Betis||6 p.m. BST (1 p.m. ET)||Real Valladolid|
|May 11||Espanyol||6 p.m. BST (1 p.m. ET)||Osasuna|
|May 11||Celta de Vigo||6 p.m. BST (1 p.m. ET)||Real Madrid|
The Champions League places have already been confirmed, but the relegation battle is set to go down to the wire.
The clash between Granada and Almeria will go a long way to deciding the fate of those two teams in Week 37, whilst Valladolid and Osasuna both need points away from home to keep them in the fight for survival.
With so much on the line, this promises to be an exciting end to the season.