Despite clinging on to the top spot for most of the season,surprise packages Real Sociedad, finally succumbed to weeks of Real Madrid pressure and dropped to 2nd place last weekend.
The Madrid superstars and their unassuming coach Vicente del Bosque will now be reluctant to surrender first place and may well go on to win the title with the style of football they are so renowned for.
Brazilian striker Ronaldo is beginning to show sign of his true worth to Real and could give the club an extra edge going into the title run-in.
Real Sociedad’s surprising title challenge is all the more remarkable considering that they were relegation candidates last season, and their improvement is generally credited to the impact of French coach, Reynald Denoueix.
Although qualifying for the Champion’s League would represent a superb achievement, if Sociedad are to make a serious title challenge then a fit Xabi Alonso and the maintained good form of Russian midfielder, Valery Karpin, would aid them greatly.
Valencia and Deportivo La Coruna are still very much in the title chase, both lie a couple of points off the top spot, and will look to pick up the pieces should Real Madrid falter.
Valencia, the reining champions, have had a steady, if unspectacular season, and have earned themselves one of the best defensive records in La Liga.
Chasing the two UEFA cup places are Celta Vigo, who also have a superb defensive record, Real Betis, Atlectico Madrid, Sevilla and finally Barcelona. The Catalan giants have endured a terrible season so far, which has meant the end of Louis van Gaal’s second spell at the club. New coach, Raddy Antic, is trying to restore confidence to a club, which was shocked to the core by their recent proximity to the relegation zone.
The last day of the season could see an epic scramble to avoid relegation as the list of candidates stretches alostt as far as 10th place Barcelona.
Recreativo, Rayo Vallecano and Espanyol currently lie in the relegation zone but those names could change week by week, although Recreativo, who are also Copa del Rey finalists, look likeliest for the drop.
Alaves have a tough run in and the penultimate game of the season, against Osasuna, could prove crucial. Equally important could be the game between Copa del Rey finalists Mallorca and Malaga who have not yet reached safety.