Barcelona remain slight favourites to retain their La Liga title, despite both Madrid clubs reducing the gap in recent weeks. Barca are holding steady with the oddsmakers, but Celta Vigo's chances of making the top four took a hit after they were held to a 1-1 draw in Espanyol on Tuesday night.
The stalemate means manager Eduardo Berizzo's men now trail fourth-place Villarreal by six points having played one more game.
Elsewhere, Real Betis scored an important win over Las Palmas at Benito Villamarin. The result moves Juan Merino's side above Las Palmas and Valencia and into the top half of the table.
Here are the results from Tuesday's fixtures:
|La Liga Week 34 Results: Tuesday Scores|
|Real Betis||1-0||Las Palmas|
Here's what those results mean for the updated standings:
|La Liga Standings: Week 34|
|14||Deportivo La Coruna||33||7||17||9||-6||38|
The title odds with five games left, per OddsChecker.com:
|La Liga Title Odds: Week 34|
Rival Managers Confident of the Title
Despite what's become more than a blip, Barcelona manager Luis Enrique remains upbeat about winning a second straight title. In fact, Enrique is very clear in his belief, according to a Reuters report (h/t Sky Sports): "I'm convinced we're going to win the league—if I wasn't I wouldn't be sat here."
That's bold talk from a manager who knows his side's only advantage over second-place Atletico Madrid is a better head-to-head record this season. Atleti erased the points gap after Enrique saw his side lose three in a row in Spain's top flight.
Yet the odds still favour the Catalans at 4-7. Barca need that advantage because Atletico's odds are fading. The men from one-half of Spain's capital city are now listed with just 7-2 odds to capture a second title in three seasons.
Manager Diego Simeone got the better of Barca to lift the prize in 2014. Now he's on the path to another title, per ESPN's Dermot Corrigan:
By contrast, Corrigan noted in another ESPN FC article how Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is trying to temper enthusiasm somewhat.
Los Blancos trail the top two by just a single point and are shortening at 5-1 odds to lift the title, but Zidane is still preaching caution, per Corrigan: "We're in a good situation but have not achieved anything yet."
Maybe Zidane is right to be cautious since his side will be facing a cagey Villarreal outfit on Wednesday.
Celta missed the chance to pile the pressure on the Yellow Submarine before the trip to the Santiago Bernabeu. That was despite Iago Aspas giving Berizzo's side the lead just before the half-hour mark.
He was supplied by a typically astute pass from creative Chilean midfielder Fabian Orellana. The 30-year-old South American now has six assists in La Liga this season, per WhoScored.com, and is a gem of a player.
But it was barely over 10 minutes later that Marco Asensio slammed a left-footed drive into the bottom corner to earn Espanyol a point. It's a welcome reward for a side now eight clear of the division's drop zone.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel left it later to snatch all three points for Betis. The Dutchman struck seven minutes from time after racing to meet a precisely slid pass from Dani Ceballos.
Las Palmas had already made things difficult for themselves when defender Aythami Artiles received a second yellow card with less than five minutes to go in the first half.
Betis have managed to escape being sucked into the relegation mire and have even earned some respectability since Pepe Mel's dismissal back in January.
But it's things at the top that are less clear. Both Barca and Atleti face tough away trips on Matchday 34, so it's Los Blancos who could soon earn the favourites tag, whether Zidane likes it or not.