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With nine games left to go, its looks like the title fight in Spain is going to be a three horse race between Real Madrid, Deportivo, and Real Sociedad.

Real’s lead at the top was halved at the weekend after crashing 4-2 in the top of the table clash against Sociedad and they have no respite with two big games in the next two weeks against arch rivals Barcelona at the home on Sunday, followed by the second leg of their Champion’s League quarter-final against Manchester United. Thereafter they play Sevilla and Real Mallorca in matches they are expected to win.

On the back of two fine wins against Sociedad and Barcelona, Deportivo are once again serious contenders for the title. Out of European competition, they now have no other commitments, so can concentrate on their next game against Sevilla.

After losing the lead of La Liga last month, Real Sociedad are back on course with that win against Real Madrid. They play bottom side Rayo Vallecano at the weekend, followed by potentially difficult games against Barcelona and Sevilla.

Champions Valencia won their first league game in six matches against Osasuna at the weekend, but their poor run means they have lost touch with the top three. Their next two league games are against Valladolid and Alaves, both games they would expect to win to strengthen their push for the last automatic qualifying place for the Champion’s League.

They play Inter in the Champion’s League sandwiiched between the two league matches and realistically, this is their last chance for silverware this season. Valencia’s league position has been put under threat because Celta Vigo have gained ten points from the last twelve available and are only two points behind.

If they want to sustain their challenge Celta must win their next two games against Osasuna and Real Valladolid because they play the top three and Barcelona afterwards.

Sevilla currently occupy the last league European place, but like Celta they have to play the top three in their next three games so they may struggle to maintain their position. Real Betis are just one point behind them and are one point ahead of Atletico Madrid, who they play at the weekend. Both sides are on poor runs at the moment with Betis taking just five points from the last twenty one and Athletico picking up two from twelve since beating Valencia last month.

At the other end of the table, Rayo Vallecano have sacked their coach of three months, Gustavo Benitez and replaced him with B-side coach Antonio Iriondo. He inherits a side three points adrift at the bottom and has the daunting opener against Sociedad at the weekend.

Second from bottom Huelva are on a great run at the moment, seven games unbeaten and they beat fellow strugglers Alaves in their last game. They play Racing Santander at the weekend.

Alaves occupy the final relegation slot with two draws and five defeats in their last seven matches their recent form has been dreadful. However, hope lies in the fact that they have the easiest run-in of all the teams at the bottom.

Osusuna are on an even worse run than Alaves, with no win in eight, and if they lose to Celta at the weekend they could slip into the relegation zone.

Meanwhile, Barcelona have lost their last two leaguegames and need to get something out of the game against rivals Madrid and their following game against Sociedad if they want to pull themselves clear of danger at the bottom. They still have a chanceof silverware in the Champions League, but La Liga survival must be the priority.

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