The race no-one wants to win: La Liga has gone from a two-horse affair to the tightest battle in Europe with ONE POINT splitting the top five as Sevilla and Sociedad keep pace with El Clasico giants
- La Liga title race has seen no single side break away from the leading pack
- Only five points separates the top 13 teams with 12 matches played so far
- Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico have all faltered and look out of sorts
- Real Sociedad are overachieving and newly promoted Granada are on fire
It used to be a two-horse race, now it resembles the Grand National before the first fence has been jumped.
After 12 games in Spain there are just five points between the top 13 teams. Barcelona and Madrid are top on goal-difference, albeit having played a game less, and there is only a point between the top five.
Sportsmail looks at the leaders and the chasers and asks why each team is under (or over) achieving.
The battle for La Liga honours is tighter than ever before, with one point separating the top five
Three away defeats in their first 11 games – that is Barcelona’s worst start to a campaign on the road in 12 years. They have now gone to Granada, Levante and Athletic Bilbao and failed to come away with a single point.
Part of their problem has been the early-season absence of the injured Lionel Messi, but he was at the Cuitat de Valencia stadium and it made no difference against Levante on Saturday.
Sergio Busquets has been missing from the starting line-up for all those defeats. Frenkie de Jong looks a great signing from Ajax but he’s better along side Busquets than instead of him and the refusal to play Ivan Rakitic is plain daft.
Barcelona top the division on goal difference but have been far from convincing this season
2nd Real Madrid
After smashing the worst team in the league last midweek, Madrid were underwhelming again at the weekend drawing 0-0 with Betis.
They are struggling for goals against the tougher defences and poor relations with Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez seem to be affecting the minutes being played by those two.
Either the situation gets sorted in January or it could wreck Zinedine Zidane’s chances of winning a second league title as Madrid coach.
Real Madrid struggle for goals against the tougher defences and Eden Hazard is yet to shine
3rd Real Sociedad
This lot are definitely over-achieving. No one had them pegged as top three in the summer.
Martin Odegaard has been the star performer but the Real Madrid loanee was out injured at the weekend and they still won.
Tireless forward Portu is one of the buys of the season and former Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj came off the bench to produce a match-winning assist on Sunday.
He’s been sullen and below par so far this season – if he joins the party they could really stay the course.