When Ángel Lafita headed Getafe’s injury time equalizer on Saturday afternoon it very much seemed to be the last nail in Barça’s coffin this season. However, following Atlético Madrid’s defeat at Levante and Real Madrid’s draw at home to Valencia another lifeline has been offered. Barça still need to rely on another slip from Real Madrid, but if Carlo Ancelotti’s men fail to take full points from their remaining three games then Barça can take the title with two victories against Elche and Atlético.
It’s not the first time that Barça have looked dead and buried in the title race. When we went 3-2 down at the Bernabéu at the end of March it seemed we were out of the chase until Messi’s two penalties earned a 3-4 win. Then last week it looked like game over again for Barça when Villarreal went 2-0 up at the Madrigal, but two Villarreal own-goals and a Messi winner in the last 30 minutes kept Barça’s hopes alive. On these two occasions Barça managed to save themselves but after the 2-2 draw with Getafe it was mistakes from our two rivals for the title that has offered us another ray of hope.
Six games will now determine this season’s champion. First Real Madrid play their postponed game at Valladolid on Wednesday, then next Sunday Barça travel to Elche, Madrid play at Celta while Atlético receive Malaga at the Calderón, the three games all kicking off at 7 pm. Then on the final day of the season Madrid have a home game with Espanyol while Barça play hosts to Atlético. There are many possible combinations of results but Atlético will be champions if they take four points from their two games. Madrid need to win their three games and hope that Atlético lose one of theirs. While Barça need two wins and for Madrid to drop points in one of their games. Just for the record the bookies have Atlético favourite at 5/6 with Madrid at 9/4 and Barça at 3/1.
The press has been talking about the horrific possibility that Barça could assist Madrid to the title by beating Atlético on the last day. An opinion poll run by El Sport asked the question: In the case of having no options for the title should Barça let Atlético win? And 83% have said yes! I really hope it doesn’t come to this, our mes que un club image has been tarnished enough already this season and throwing a game in such a fashion, if it came to that, would be seen from outside as shamelessly ignoble. Admittedly, the summer would be tough if Madrid win La Liga and even worse if they were to complete a treble, however, I think in the long run the memory of dishonorable behavior would much be harder to swallow. For me, whatever the circumstances are, when a Barça XI takes to the field it must always be with the intention of winning.