At what point does Real Madrid concede that the league title is lost? With two games left to play and Barca four point ahead it's easy to write off the season. No trophies won; or at least in the eyes of many people no trophies actually worth winning. Sack the manager / coach and offload the players who failed to deliver as quickly as possible. That's it; done and dusted, now let's move on.
What happens though if Atletico Madrid beat Barca this Sunday and the points difference is then down to one? What happens next Sunday if Deportivo La Coruna turn up at the Camp Nou needing a point to stay in the division and battle as if their very lives depend on the end result? What if they go there and nick a point against all the odds? Stranger things have, I am sure, happened. First of all, though, it depends on how Real Madrid do against Espanyol and Getafe.
Looking at this weekend first, Espanyol are always awkward to beat at home and they'll be up for the Real game as the ideal way of closing their home fixtures so that's definitely not going to be an easy match. Real are going to have to deliver on the night and that's when you need your players to be up for the game. The ‘BBC' will have a point to prove and they'll be wanting to do it as quickly as possible so although it's going to mean a fight for the points, the correct attitude should deliver all three to Madrid.
There's certainly no love lost between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona either and this will be apparent on Sunday. Several Atletico players have already come out and said that they certainly don't want Barca celebrating a league title at their expense, in their stadium, and especially not in Madrid. Atletico are always up for games like this and with the approach they show to the big matches nobody can deny that on paper at least, Luis Enrique et al are going to have to work hard at taking the points if they want to be able to face Deportivo La Coruna next weekend as champions.
On Sunday Deportivo are at home to Levante; and it's turned into a real dogfight at the bottom of the league. Levante are not the team you want to face if you need a result. With a strong physical presence in the side Levante are always capable of getting a result away from home and they need the points. So too, do Granada; who are away at Real Sociedad and then at home to Atletico. They'll be going to San Sebastian looking for a point at least.
David Moyes has already intimated that he has potential new signings in mind to bring to Anoeta next season so that may influence how Sociedad approach their last two fixtures. Whoever plays in the Real Sociedad team for the home game against Granada and away at Rayo Vallecano next weekend might be split between those who are already on their way out of the club and those who will be determined to show David Moyes that they're worth a new contract. That often makes for a strange mix if you've got one half of the team trying 110% and the other half subconsciously thinking "I'm out of here in a week or two; I'd better not get injured".
There's always points to be won against the clubs who find themselves reaching the end of the season in the mid-table comfort zones and are neither fighting relegation nor aiming for a place in Europe. Often, these clubs either have a tendency to give a game to a few fringe players or showcase those that they might be considering moving on; so some of the Real Sociedad players could potentially have one eye on a move next season and might even be looking to stay clear of injury. Granada will go there on Sunday thinking that they have a chance and Deportivo will have to respond accordingly when they host Levante.
Deportivo La Coruna have two vital games remaining in which points are needed if they don't want to end up in La Segunda once again. They will be totally focussed on survival; and everything else will take second place as they battle for the points they need to stay up. As everyone will have written off their chances of getting a result in Barcelona next weekend, three points against Levante will be the immediate priority and then they can take stock of how the league table stands after the game. They could well be going to Barca knowing that their destiny lies in their own hands.
That could leave Real Madrid facing Getafe next weekend in what might actually turn out to be potentially the most unexpected and significant game of the season.
The last time Real played Getafe there had just been a change of coach as Quique Sanchez Flores had been appointed earlier in the week and that usually makes a difference. Next week, however, there are no such changes on the horizon and Quique is long gone from Getafe. Instead Madrid will face a Getafe side who lost last week at Rayo Vallecano but are expected to take full points this weekend against Eibar. If that's the case and they do beat Eibar, then they'll be looking to finish their own season on a high and might fancy the game at the Bernabeu as being just the way to do it; in which case Real won't be able to take anything for granted.
It's always easy to sit back and say "that's it; the season is over". However, looking at all the possible permutations over the next two weekends makes you think that this league might not be over just yet. If Atletico beat Barca, Real win at Espanyol, and Deportivo end up needing a result to stay in the division, it could all ride on next Sunday's fixtures for the clubs at both ends of the table.