One of the questions posed to Carlo Ancelotti during his pre-El Clasico press conference was the impact on the title race. The Italian coach was asked if he thought the defeat to Barcelona at the Camp Nou would end Real Madrid’s chances.
“I don’t know, we didn’t think about that. We are thinking about winning. Whatever happens after that, whether we win or not, we can think about that time. But at the moment, we only think about winning,” coach Ancelotti replied.
He admitted: “Statistically we are at a disadvantage in the Copa del Rey and La Liga but that does not happen in the Champions League. Anything can happen. We can close the gap with Barcelona in La Liga and that’s what we want to do.”
So how realistic are Real Madrid’s chances of subversion? Before the match started, Barcelona topped the table with 65 points and Real Madrid was behind in second place with 56 points – a nine-point difference between the two teams. Including the El Clasico match tomorrow morning (March 20), there are 13 more matches, equivalent to 39 points to win.
To be able to get past Xavi Hernandez’s side at this stage, Real need to hope their opponents lose at least three of the remaining 13 games and they need to win all of them, including the El Clasico fight. Unless Barca collapses, the probability of that happening is very small. Indeed, Barca have only lost 2 matches after 25 matches, dropping only 10 points.
We are also talking about the team with the best defense in Europe. Barcelona have conceded just eight goals, while goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has kept a clean sheet in 19 of the 25 games played so far. Compared to the top teams in the top 5 leagues in Europe, the Catalan club really excel.
However, Real Madrid beat Barcelona in the first leg at the Bernabeu in October. If they can win the El Clasico, Real will have a head-to-head record advantage if the two teams are on points at the end of the season.
But closing the nine-point gap at this stage of the season is not easy in La Liga. There is only one precedent. It was Louis van Gaal’s Barca successfully overcoming the 9-point gap that Mallorca set up to win the championship when the 1998/99 season had only 3 rounds left.
Real Madrid’s most memorable comebacks came in 2002/03 when they narrowed Real Sociedad’s seven-point lead and in 2006/07 when Fabio Capello’s side overcame the five-point gap to level it. separated with Barca and then, won the championship thanks to the extra difference.
With the current situation, it is difficult for Real to turn the tide. La Liga is therefore probably ending soon at this point.
Number of goals conceded by the top 5 European teams:
*Calculated before this weekend’s round
– Barcelona (La Liga – 8 goals conceded); Real Madrid – 19 goals conceded)
– Arsenal (Premier League – 25 goals conceded)
– Napoli (Serie A – 16 goals conceded, after 26 games)
– Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga – 31 goals)
– PSG (Ligue 1 – 26 goals conceded, after 27 games)
– Feyenoord (Eredivisie – 23 goals)
Xiao Lam | 22:17 03/19/2023