La Liga: where the top three could stumble

Right now, Barcelona have a sizeable lead (13 and 14 points, respectively) on Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, and with only 27 points left to play for are almost assured of winning the title.

However, all three teams have some tough fixtures ahead of them. Click through to see where they’re most likely to stumble.

Barcelona
Athletic, away: For awhile it looked like Athletic would be pulled into the fight against relegation. However, they’ve looked more impressive in the last couple months, and have turned out some good performances against strong teams, including a 3-0 win over Atlético and a 1-0 defeat of Valencia, both at home.

Real Betis, home: Since their promotion last season, Betis have proved to be one of Barcelona’s toughest rivals. They’ve been better at home (2-2 and 1-2) than away (4-2), but they’re a team that can press and take advantage of Barcelona’s makeshift defense anywhere.

Espanyol, away: Barcelona have struggled with this fixture in recent years, dropping 7 points in their last four league visits to their crosstown neighbors. They’ll have almost certainly won the league by this point, so they may be more complacent.

Real Madrid
Real Betis, home: Betis have also been a thorn in Madrid’s side since their promotion. They lost narrowly at home last year in a game even Mourinho admitted Betis deserved something from, and beat Madrid earlier this year. They’re an adaptive team that can adjust to Madrid’s counter attacking style.

Atlético Madrid, away: They haven’t managed to beat Real Madrid in years, but they’ve been one of the strongest teams in the league this year. They’ve also been strong at home and have allowed the fewest goals in the league. This will be difficult, especially if Real make the UCL semi-finals – this game will fall right in the middle of the two legs.

Real Sociedad, away: Sociedad have been in an amazing run of form since mid-November, losing just once in the last 19 league fixtures (a 4-3 loss at the Bernabeu). They’ve beaten some of the best sides in the league, including Atlético and Barcelona. They’re also fighting for a spot in the Champions League.

Atlético Madrid
Sevilla, away: Atléti may have beat Sevilla 4-0 in their home league fixture earlier this season, but they were much less convincing in the two Copa del Rey legs, and they’ve struggled away this season. Sevilla are looking better since Unai Emery took over, and could manage to get a result.

Deportivo La Coruña, away: Atléti smashed them in their home fixture this season and Depor have been very disappointing overall. However, they’ve been looking better lately, and have turned out good performances at home, beating Málaga and losing by a one goal margin to Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, and Real Betis. Sheer desperation to avoid relegation could see them manage a draw.

Barcelona, home: Atléti may well struggle more against Barcelona than Real. Their match against Barcelona is a lot less inconvenient to the Blaugrana than the fixture against Real. Barcelona should also be able to break down their defense.

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