11 games remain in the LaLiga title race. After, what was thought, a pivotal Clasico victory Real Madrid’s defeat to Real Betis on the weekend means they are right back where they started, trailing Barcelona by two points heading into the campaign’s final hurdles.
Though some fancy the title finished, the Spanish title race still remains too close to call for the neutral. In an attempt to get a better idea of both teams title chances and fill the demoralised Madridista with some optimism, I broke down the numbers behind both sides end to the season.
Let’s start with the remaining fixtures. On paper, Barcelona have the easier schedule with an average position of 13th amongst their remaining opponents compared to Real Madrid who are facing teams with average position of 11th. However, despite having the narrowly easier fixture list, Barcelona will have to play more games away (6) than at home. Real Madrid, meanwhile, have six home games left. Although Los Blancos haven’t been great at home (they have the second best home record in the league), their home record is significantly better than Barcelona’s travelling form (the Catalans have the fourth best away record in LaLiga).
Looking at potential banana peels for both sides, Real Madrid look the side most likely to slip up. When one takes the last 10 games Los Blancos have played against each of their 11 upcoming opponents (coming to a total of 105 matches), Real have won 75 and lost 13. That’s two wins less than Barcelona and three losses more. Though an impressive record, those numbers are slightly deceptive as they fail to take into account venue, with six of Barcelona’s 10 defeats within this metric coming in grounds they are going to play in this final run for the title
While Real Madrid’s biggest challenge remaining on paper is Villarreal at home (Los Blancos have drawn two and lost one of their last five home games against the yellow submarine), it pales to Barcelona’s abysmal recent record visiting the Balaidos where they’ve lost three and drawn one of their last five league visits.
Worth noting now that Real Madrid have topped Barcelona in the second half of season seven times in the last 10 years. pic.twitter.com/DIL83yPUnG— Kristofer McCormack (Non World Cup Winner) (@K_mc06) January 26, 2020
Real Madrid generally finish seasons strongly and have beaten the league champion’s point tally in the final half of the season seven times in the past 10 seasons. Their record for the final 10 matches of the season over the last five years has also been pretty good, averaging a little over two points more than Barcelona does (despite Madrid and Barca’s win/loss record in these games practically being neck and neck).
Both sets of fans could probably convince themselves that these numbers shine in their team favour. For Real Madrid fans, it should at the very least distract from the comparisons of last season’s collapse and perhaps spark a little hope that Barcelona’s dodgy away form could do Zidane’s men some favours.