Alright people we have all heard the news, La Liga is back! The government in Spain has given the green light to resume the season, and with Barca holding a 2 point lead at the top it only adds to the dramatics. Lets take a quick look at the table before we dive into the schedules.
After defeating Barcelona at the Bernabeu Zidane’s men choked their lead in Eden Hazards return against Real Betis Los Blancos have a tall order ahead of them. The only good news for Madristas is that Barcelona has a just as difficult if not more difficult schedule ahead.
Real Madrid statistically the best home team in the league ending the season hosting 6 of their final 11 matches. To Barcelona the leagues statistical best away side this season having to travel for 6 of their 11.
Real Madrid will be hosting (without fans of course) Eibar, Valencia, Mallorca, Getafe, Alaves, and Villarreal. You may think that home advantage goes out the window without fans in the stadium, however at the Bernabeu you are fighting for more than just the fans. When teams come to the Bernabeu they usually treat it as a final because it is hollowed ground, but Ramos is leading the charge with the message of this is our F***king house. One of the top defenses in Europe (especially at home) will look to continue their home form restarting the season against Eibar.
Barcelona on the other hand being one of the best away sides makes this even more interesting seeing as how Lionel Messi loves to score away from home, and break hearts. With away matches at Mallorca, Sevilla, Celta Vigo, Villarreal, Valladollid, and Alaves, they will be visiting some historically challenging stadiums. Lionel Messi has never had trouble scoring against any of these sides, and without the fans Messi may just do whatever he wants. Other than Messi Barca is faced with some injuries that important players such as Suarez, Umtiti, and Dembele may not be 100% for. Barca is faced with a shortage on the bench, and some players looking to find their form once again.
The games we really are looking out for that Barcelona will drop some points are as follows. Sevilla, a team that is always looking to have Barcelona’s number. The fact that they need to hold their 3rd place spot for Champions League is another huge factor in their match against Barca. Next is Athletic Club, the team that knocked Barca out of the cup. This is a team that is always a thorn in the side of Barcelona, but who knows if Aduriz will be available after announcing retirement. Finally we have the “other” Madrid, Atleti. This is a team that has been struggling to find form, but after their victory over Liverpool (something Barca couldn’t do) they show that they can still fight against Europe’s very best. Simeone is going to have to come out firing if he wants a European spot.
Next we have the big games for Real Madrid! Listen this is by no means an easy schedule, but I like it better than Barca’s. Facing off against Valencia the 2nd match back is going to be a real test for Zidane’s men. Will he be doing a rotation? Will he be playing his Champion’s League winning XI out again? Who knows, its Zidane. Next we have La Real, Odegaard’s return to the Bernabeu where he knocked Madrid out of the cup. La Real will be trying to hold on to that last Champions League spot so a result against Madrid is huge. Next we have Getafe, a side that hasn’t lived up to the glory of last season. However they are a tough team to score against, and Madrid need to find their shooting boots quickly if they want to win the title. Finally Athletic Club, this team is always going to bring their A game against Spain’s best. They are one of the most historic teams in the league not named Barcelona and Madrid. Another match where Aduriz could have his influence IF he plays.
Here is what I really think. Marco Asensio is back and you can tell from training how bad he has missed the pitch. Casemiro signed an extension. Bale came out and said Madrid fans were whistling him, then answers by being the most fit player on the squad. This is starting to feel like the 16/17 season all over again. I am looking forward to the rest of the season as is everyone else. I hope they do not bring back the Champion’s League and just let the leagues pick up the pieces, and don’t fu** the next season up too bad. 5 subs also has me looking at all the options Zidane can throw out on the pitch now, and I am just drooling over the chances our young guys are going to get. As always, Hala Madrid!
Written by: Anthony “Young Leg” Shopa (@ayoungleg)