La Liga Title Race 2021: Who will emerge as the mightiest of the lot?
La Liga’s competitiveness has been questioned in recent times, but this year seems to be unique as there is no clear sign of who will win the league in Spain yet. Atletico were clear favourites as they gained a huge lead by December, but a massive downturn in form coupled with Barcelona’s and Real Madrid’s rise has lead to there being a scrap for the top spot. Let’s take a look at the 3 teams’ chances of winning it.
Los Rojiblancos had a roaring start to the season, but have declined drastically since the New Year. If the September-December version of Atletico Madrid was the team at their finest, then surely the team we have seen from January is the Atletico of old, spurning chances and losing leads in easy games. The red and whites were dealt a huge blow with their elimination from the CL, and things have not improved since then. However, they still have the potential to cross the finishing line first.
Firstly, there is superstar Joao Felix, who will be crucial in the run-in to the title despite falling out with Simeone. Luis Suarez, his main strike partner will also continue his role as the veteran leader of the team, while rookie Moussa Dembele will have to pick up his form to earn a permanent move to the team while also picking up a La Liga medal on the way. All in all, Simeone’s side winning the trophy depends on their attack, and time will tell whether they succeed or not.
Los Blancos have a more clear mission in order to retain La Liga; they just need to keep their players fit. Real have had their fair share of injuries, similar to CL opponents Liverpool, but they have coped with the losses FAR better than the Scousers. Their makeshift (yet solid) defence of Lucas Vasquez, Varane, Nacho and Mendy has been surprisingly effective, while Benzema has literally carried the attack single-handedly. They also just won El Clasico, and spirits will be high in the squad.
In the end, Zidane will have to continue to inspire his hindered squad to more victories in order to beat both Atletico and Barca to the much-coveted La Liga trophy. The only potential weakness i can see in this team is if they return to their dreadful form they had in the start of the season. They better hope they don’t.
The Catalans may not be at their very best, but they are certainly a top team. They are yet another team who have been a victim of their past success, since many have overlooked them despite their quiet rise to the top part of the table. Barcelona have been the supposed underdogs of this season, especially after their last season was just one huge car crash. Koeman has done something I never thought possible; effectively using most of Barca’s ‘flops’. By utilising Griezmann in his preferred central role, placing Dembele on the left wing, and making Martin Braithwaite look less like a meme and more like a player of Barca’s standards. Pedri has also had a meteoric rise to fame, and things are starting to fall in place after a few torrid years. Oh, there’s also the fact that the team has arguably the best footballer of this generation (or even all time), Leo Messi. Surely there’s nothing to say about the Little Magician. The worse part is, Koeman will probably not get any reward for shaking up and sorting out this ragtag Barca team.
One weakness they will have to solve is their error-prone defence. Pique may be a great leader from the back, but he is reaching his career’s twilight, Lenglet has never been the same since THAT game against Bayern, Jordi Alba has been surprisingly electric of late, and the right back spot is being fought for by Sergino Dest and Oscar Mingueza, despite the latter filling in for Lenglet recently. All in all, Barcalona have a great chance of winning the league due to their one of a kind mercurial attackers, but will have to ensure a shaky and uncertain defence doesn’t hinder them.
That’s all for this article. Only time will tell which team will come out on top, and we will have to wait and watch what happens. Do share this article if you liked it, and look out for my next article on Koeman’s revolution at Barca. Adios, and I hope to write soon!