Nail Biter: La Liga Full of Drama Right To the End

LA blaugranaCorrespondent IMay 13, 2010

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 10:  Cristiano Ronaldo (R) of Real Madrid duels for the ball with Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 10, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. Barcelona won the match 2-0.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

It was supposed to be predictable.

Depending on who you asked, you would hear that Barcelona's sextuple winners would cruise to another set of titles, or that Madrid's new Galacticos were too good to be stopped.

They were not supposed to finish the season empty handed, not with the money they both spent reinforcing the great squads they already possessed. One of them will.

Both failed in their campaigns for the Spanish Cup and the Champions League, and the Spanish League is the last chance for silverware.

With a single point between them and a single game left to play, Madrid fans are hoping for a repeat of the 2007 season, when Barcelona inexplicably managed to throw away a league they had virtually sewn up.

Their final games will not be as simple as they seem.

Both Madrid and Barça play against teams threatened by relegation. Rather than a blessing, this presents problems.

Like the title race, the relegation battle is still undecided. Each of the five teams in danger can still escape. Four of them are tied on 36 points. A single point in the final game of the season may be enough to guarantee survival.

Valladolid and Malaga may not have the talent of their more famous opponents, but as the Spanish saying goes: dejarán la piel (they will leave their skin on the pitch). This combination of desperation, heart, and a bit of luck could be enough to swing the title race decisively.

It nearly happened last weekend, when, in the space of five minutes, Madrid and Sevilla's simultaneous comebacks sent Barça fans from celebrating being mathematical champions to that heart attack inducing panic that comes right before one's worst nightmare is realized. In the end, Madrid's four late goals counted for little, as Barça held off Sevilla to maintain their one point lead.

There is plenty of drama outside of the very top and bottom as well. All but one of the European places is up for grabs.

Valencia have secured third place and automatic qualification for the Champions League.

Sevilla and Mallorca are battling for the fourth and final CL spot, while Getafe and Villareal are looking for UEFA League qualification.

Of all the fixtures on the final day, only in Athletic-Deportivo is there nothing to play for. With most of the games played at the same time, it will be a frantic final day to an exciting season.

It may be a disaster in Arsene Wenger's eyes, and does lack competition at the top, but all the other ingredients have been there in abundance. For those of us who follow La Liga, it has been a season to remember.


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