Despite some wild talk of Real Madrid’s 2-1 El Clasico victory heralding a new dawn in Spanish football, it’s very much a case of as you were for most of La Liga as the ink settles on the league table after the weekend’s fixtures.
Sure, the gritty win from Real’s second string over their rivals reduced their title odds from the nigh-impossible 50/1 to the merely highly improbable 33/1, but that reduced gap of 13 points on Barcelona still feels very much a chasm.
In the battle for the Champions League qualifying spots, Malaga continued what they have pretty much done ever since Christmas – clinging on to fourth after an unspectacular performance.
A 0-0 draw at home to Atletico Madrid brings no shame, but it leaves the south-coast club delicately placed as 7/4 shouts for the top four.
Getafe joined a quintet within five points of Manuel Pellegrini’s men with their third win on the bounce, a comfortable 2-0 home success over troubled Real Zaragoza.
Luis Garcia’s men boast the best form in the division along with Real Madrid in the past five games and their charge away from mid-table obscurity is just about the most interesting thing in a rather flat La Liga right now.
Getafe lack the kind of exceptional talents that some of their rivals for the top four possess, but a tendency to play as a real team and eke out results has brought them a long way recently.
While Malaga and fifth-placed Valencia (5/4 favourites for the top four despite being held 2-2 at home to Levante) can justifiably claim much greater credentials in the battle for fourth place, that Getafe are still as long as 33/1 despite being just five points adrift in what is a rather sedate battle at the moment seems a little staggering.
Nothing is clicking for Real Zaragoza at the moment and they are now 2/1 for the drop after that defeat, cut from 3/1 when I tipped them for the bottom three two weeks ago.
Zaragoza remain 17th and must be extremely relieved that the three sides closest to them in the table all also lost at the weekend.
A massive home tie with 5/4 relegation candidates Granada on Monday is a real chance for Zaragoza to take their first win in ten La Liga matches – should they fail to do that, their trouble will deepen.