Real Madrid’s victory in El Clásico and Atlético Madrid’s draw mean it’s so tight at the top of the standings, with just eight rounds to go to determine who’ll be champion. Sevilla FC, fourth ranked, also joined the race for the title
The 2020/21 LaLiga Santander title race is red hot. There are just eight matchdays remaining until the end of the season and the fight to take the title is so tightly contested. Atlético Madrid (67 points), Real Madrid (66) and FC Barcelona (65) lead the way at the summit and there are just two points between first and third. Sevilla FC are also making a case to join the race with their tally of 61 points. Teams are battling to their limits every matchday and anything can happen from here to the end of the season. The fanbases and the players are feeling the tension and passion of these final matches in what has been a spectacular LaLiga Santander campaign.
The results of the most recent matchday, with Real Madrid winning El Clásico 2-1 and with Atlético drawing 1-1 with Real Betis, are the latest example of how open and exciting this season has been.
The situation, with so many candidates for the title so late in the season, is practically unparalleled when looking at the last few Spanish football seasons. However, it’s also unique when comparing this Spanish season with the other major leagues across Europe. In England’s Premier League, Manchester City have been in control for some time and are 11 points ahead of Manchester United, who are themselves seven above third-placed Leicester City. In the Bundesliga in Germany, Bayern Munich are on their way to a ninth title in a row as they hold a five-point advantage over RB Leipzig. In Italy’s Serie A, meanwhile, Inter are on the verge of knocking off Juventus after their nine consecutive titles as they have 11 points more than second-placed AC Milan and 12 more than the Old Lady. Only in Ligue 1 in France is the title race tighter, although Lille do have a three-point lead over PSG with just six rounds remaining. No other top league, therefore, can boast the excitement and competitiveness that there has been in LaLiga Santander this term.
There are still many blockbuster matches to take place in Spain’s top flight over the final eight matchdays, fixtures that will have fans around the world glued to their screens to see who will become champion of Spain. Athletic vs Atlético, Atlético vs Real Sociedad, Athletic vs Real Madrid, Real Madrid vs Villarreal CF, Valencia CF vs FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF vs FC Barcelona are all still to come, in addition to what will be an epic Super Matchday 35. That weekend, the top four will face off among each other, with FC Barcelona vs Atlético and Real Madrid vs Sevilla FC.
This situation, with so much equality, is a sign of the constant evolution that has been taking place in LaLiga Santander over the past few years, where competitiveness has become one of the identifying traits of the competition. The distance between all of the teams isn’t as large as it used to be, as there aren’t massive thrashings or league champions who manage to reach 100 points. Instead, every team is capable of beating every other team at any point of the season. This is the result of the more equal distribution of prize money and clubs’ financial stability, two initiatives that LaLiga has been behind for several years now through the league’s economic control initiatives and the centralised sale of audiovisual rights. The CIES Football Observatory recently published a study that had LaLiga Santander as the most competitive of Europe’s top five leagues and this is clear to see. Thanks to this, fans will be able to really enjoy the final eight rounds of action.
Excitement in the race for Europe and the relegation battle
The competitiveness of LaLiga Santander isn’t just at the very top of the standings, but it’s something that is present throughout the table. For example, in the contest to make it into the last two European qualification spots, Real Sociedad (47 points), Real Betis (47) and Villarreal CF (46) are so evenly matched, with just one point from fifth to seventh.
Equally, when it comes to the tussle at the bottom as teams aim to stay outside the last three positions to avoid relegation to LaLiga SmartBank, it looks like there are going to be six teams in this fight. They are Getafe CF (30 points), SD Huesca (27), Real Valladolid (27), Elche CF (26), Deportivo Alavés (24) and SD Eibar (23), with just seven points between 15th and 20th.