With Barcelona in a bit of a slump of sorts (at least by their standards), it becomes the latest of the big three Spanish clubs (Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid being the others) to fall into a funk within their domestic schedule. Atleti have been struck the worst, as they find themselves in fourth place and in a nine-point hole. Real is on a winning streak at the moment, but just last month themselves ended three consecutive matches in a draw.
Which raises a question: is the rest of the league better competition than originally thought?
With their draw, Barcelona are level on points with Sevilla, who trail Barça only due to goal differential. Further down the table you will find teams that been on par with the big clubs in their head-to-head match ups. Villarreal, Las Palmas and Eibar all took a point away from their matches with Real Madrid, and they sit in sixth, twelfth and seventh-places respectively. Real Sociedad tied Barcelona in Anoeta Sunday and Málaga did so eight days prior, Real sits in fifth-place while the Malagueños are in tenth.
Looking to the match played at the Bernabeu over the weekend, Sporting Gijón may have lost 2-1 thanks to a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo (who has no equal other than some guy on Barcelona), but played Real Madrid extremely tough. Really the match came down to a few plays to put Madrid on top, but Sporting was within striking distance of the three points all match.
Which has been a theme in many of the matches for Spain's big three. Even bottom-of-the-table Granada went tit-for-tat against Barça a few weeks ago, though they eventually one tit short for Barça's extra tat and lost 1-0.
Everyone talks about the top-to-bottom strength of the English Premier League, but I would be curious to see how a league that combined all the Spanish and English teams would turn out. After all, it's no mistake that the many of the Europa League champions have come from Spain as of late. Not to mention Barcelona and Real Madrid winning the last three Champions League titles.
This weekend we get to see Barcelona try to close their gap with Madrid, as the first Clásico of the season takes place on Saturday at the Camp Nou. This Clásico presents the perfect opportunity for Barça to get back on track, as their rivals are four match winning streak, and there's nothing better than ending the joy for your enemies.
Photo: Flickr/Nazionale Calcio