And then there were two.
With both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid earning draws on Sunday, a showdown between the two teams next weekend will decide La Liga's title (Real Madrid are out of the running after losing to Celta Vigo, 2-0, though Los Blancos seem more interested in a Champions League title at this point).
It's pretty simple. With a win or draw, Atletico will be champions. But if Barca win, they'll earn the title on goal differential. Next weekend, Camp Nou's the place to be.
But before we look ahead, let's take a look back at this week's results.
|Athletic Bilbao||1-1||Real Sociedad|
|Celta Vigo||2-0||Real Madrid|
|Real Betis||4-3||Real Valladolid|
And here are the week's top scorers:
|Javi Guerra||Real Valladolid||2|
|Carlos Gonzalez Pena||Real Valladolid||1|
|Ruben Castro||Real Betis||1|
|Jorge Molina||Real Betis||1|
|Iker Muniain||Athletic Bilbao||1|
|Imanol Agirretxe||Real Sociedad||1|
|Toby Alderweireld||Atletico Madrid||1|
|Javier Acuna Caballero||Osasuna||1|
|Alexis Vidal Parreu||Almeria||1|
In the next two weeks, Atletico Madrid could earn an amazing double and could do so at the expense of Barcelona and Real Madrid. As if it wouldn't be incredible enough to win both La Liga and the Champions League, Atletico could also shoot an arrow through the notion that La Liga is a two-club league.
Of course, Atletico's faithful must be somewhat concerned that their men couldn't wrap up the title on Sunday. Are they running out of steam? Are they starting to feel the pressure?
Neither would be shocking. Atletico have neither the depth nor the experience when it comes to snagging trophies of Barca and Los Blancos. And winning at Camp Nou will be no easy task—the Catalans have won 16 of their 18 La Liga home games, drawing and losing once apiece.
On the other hand, Barcelona played on Sunday like a team looking forward more to the offseason than it was the possibility of winning a title. Really, only Atletico seem to desire La Liga's top prize, as Dermot Corrigan of ESPN tweeted:
Atletico really unlucky not to win La Liga today I thought, only team really going for the title, Simeone dragging every drop out of squad.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) May 11, 2014
Nonetheless, it's Barca that have the odds in their favor to win the title, per Paul Carr of ESPN:
Soccer Power Index odds to win La Liga: Barcelona 58%, Atlético Madrid 42%.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) May 11, 2014
While all that goes on, Real Madrid have basically put all of their eggs in the Champions League basket. Of course, Carlo Ancelotti tried to suggest otherwise after the Celta Vigo loss, per Corrigan.
"We have not thrown away La Liga, but since the Champions League semi-final we have dropped in intensity and paid for it," he said.
Sure seems like they threw away La Liga from here.
Real Betis threw away La Liga long ago and will be relegated, but both Osasuna and Real Valladolid continue to fight for a place in the league next year. Osasuna's draw kept them alive in their quest to remain in the league, but Real Valladolid's wretched loss to Betis doesn't bode well for their chances.
Both teams trail Granada by two points, and Real Valladolid has the better goal differential, so they might yet save their season. With Granada facing Real Valladolid next weekend—and Osasuna having a very winnable game against Betis—it won't be just the title race that has an exciting conclusion.