Barcelona returned the top of the Primera Division, with a brilliant 2-0 victory away to bitter rivals Real Madrid, in the eagerly awaited “El Gran Clasico” clash on matchday 31.
Pep Guardiola’s side are now three points clear of Real, thanks to goals either side of half time from Lionel Messi and Pedro. They now also have the upper hand on Real in terms of the two sides’ head-to-head record, which is practically worth another point if the teams end the season locked at the top.
It looks unlikely that that will be the case though, as Barcelona are in unstoppable form of late, and if recent performances are anything to go by, there is not a single side on the planet that can stop them, let alone in La Liga.
It was a disappointing show from Real, especially considering the run of form that they carried into the game, and it will be interesting to see the fall-out, should they not go on now to win the league title. I, as many do, expect Manuel Pelligrini to be shown the door as manager at the end of the season, and believe that the Real board will now chase Jose Mourinho as their next coach. It will be interesting to see how things develop at the Bernabeu during the summer months.
Aside from the top two, the battle for fourth place continues to intensify. There were wins for 4th, 5th and 6th place, as Sevilla, Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao all secured three points in tough fixtures.
Sevilla came from behind to win 2-1 away to Malaga thanks to second half strikes from Cala and Lolo, whilst Mallorca produced an impressive performance to overcome third placed Valencia 3-2 at ONO Estadi.
Athletic Bilbao were emphatic in their victory over Almeria at San Mames, beating their mid-table opposition 4-1 and also missing a penalty in the process. Javier Martinez struck twice, with Igor Gabilondo and Fernando Llorente grabbing the others, as Bilbao bounced back from their drubbing at the Nou Camp a week earlier, to keep up the heat on their nearest rivals.
There was yet more misery for the bottom three, as Tenerife and Valladolid played out a 0-0 draw that will do neither of them any favours, and Xerez’s recent revival ended with a 1-0 defeat at home to Getafe, thanks to a strike from Rafa Lopez.
Atletico Madrid looked to be suffering from a European hangover, following their victory over Valencia in the Europa League, as they were soundly beaten away to Espanyol 3-0.