The three-way race to become 2013/14 La Liga champions will see much twisting and turning this weekend, as Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid all take on teams in the lower reaches of the Spanish top flight.
Last term’s top dogs Barca are up first and look to have by far the toughest assignment as they visit a Granada side that’s lost just two of their seven home matches since coming back from winter break, with four victories racked up at the Estadio Los Carmenes so far in 2014.
Los Blaugrana have had a tough ten days, with a two-window transfer ban – subject to appeal – confirmed and their place in the semi-finals of the Champions League stolen by Atleti, leaving manager Tata Martino hanging on to his job by a thread.
The loss to Diego Simeone’s side at the Vicente Calderon was the Catalans’ fourth away to Spanish opposition since the start of the campaign.
With Martino’s men also stumbling to draws on the road against their compatriot clubs on three occasions this term, the 29/10 about Granada winning or holding beleaguered Barca to a draw in the double-chance market looks the way to play in Andalusia.
Should Lionel Messi and co stumble against Lucas Alcaraz’s boys, third-placed Real Madrid would quickly capitalise on their rivals’ malaise as Los Blancos are a shoo-in for victory when they host second-bottom Almeria in a match – like Barca’s and Atleti’s – shown live on TV.
The visitors last avoided defeat on the road back in early January – seven games ago – and Real have won their last two against the likely relegatees by a combined scoreline of 13-1.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that even-money on the hosts minus three goals is a steal of a bet even without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo and a win of any kind at 1/20 would see them draw level on points with their neighbours.
Atleti would have the chance to streak away from Carlo Ancelotti’s men again with a 9/20 triumph at Getafe 21 hours later and considering Simeone’s outfit have only failed to win against the big two during their current ten-game unbeaten run in all competitions, it’s hard to see the shock title challengers slipping up.
Barcelona are currently favourites at 17/20 to win La Liga, with Real Madrid next at 9/4 and Atletico Madrid 13/4.