Title Race

Unlike the Premier League, and to a lesser extent now the Bundesliga, there's a genuine title race on the cards in La Liga as familar foes Barcelona and Real Madrid once again duke it out to determine who is Spain's top team. Los Blancos secured a confidence-boosting Clasico win over the Blaugrana in the penultimate round of games before the league's postponement, yet sacrificed top spot courtesy of a 2-1 loss at the hands of Real Betis last time out. Coupled with Barcelona's narrow win over Real Sociedad, it's Quique Setien's side who hold a slender advantage with 11 games to play.

Sevilla are the duo's closest rivals for top spot, yet Julen Lopetegui's side are 11 points off Barcelona, so we have a two-horse title race on our hands in Spain. Barcelona entered lockdown in better shape, winning five of their last six, while Zinedine Zidane only oversaw three wins over the same period. Given the lengthy break in action, though, it's impossible to pay too much attention to the form book as these two Spanish giants prepare for battle once again.

With less than a week until both teams are back in action, Barcelona are available at a best price of 8/13 to defend their La Liga crown, this coming despite the possible absence of Lionel Messi for their looming trip to Mallorca. That said, Luis Suarez's return to fitness is a boost for the defending champions. The Uruguayan was in exceptional form before sustaining a knee injury in January having had a direct hand in a goal in all but one of his seven league appearances prior to his absence.


A WhoScored.com rating of 7.56 is second only to Messi (8.61) in La Liga this season and he'll be eager to prove his worth to the side, especially as they gear up to make a summer move for Lautaro Martinez.

Conversely, it is impossible to completely rule out Real Madrid from leapfrogging their fierce rivals and ending their three-year wait for a La Liga title. According to WhoScored.com's unique rating system, Los Blancos have the easiest run-in in Spain's top tier, with the average rating of their remaining opponents coming in at 6.61. Zidane will hope to have summer arrival Eden Hazard firing on all cylinders for the remaining 11 matches, with the Belgian enduring a stop-start beginning to his career in Spain.

If he can rediscover his final-season Chelsea form over the coming gameweeks, then Real Madrid to win the title at a best price of 6/4 is a more tempting proposition. Despite back-to-back away defeats, Los Blancos still boast the best away record in Spain and if they can improve their Bernabeu fortunes, starting with the welcome of Eibar on Sunday evening, then their chances of glory improve significantly.

Top Four

Just as two points seperate the top two, there is a two-point gap between third placed Sevilla and Atletico Madrid in sixth. Real Sociedad and Getafe are the meat in this Rojiblancos sandwich chasing a Champions League finish. Like Real Madrid and their away record, Sevilla need to improve at the Roman Sanchez Pizjuan if Lopetegui is to oversee Champions League football in Seville next season.

Sevilla boast the second best away record in the Spanish top-flight, picking up 24 points on their travels, but their record in front of their fans ranks 12th. Outside of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Sevilla are the favourites to finish in the top four at a best price of 4/9 and there is better value to be had elsewhere.

Despite sitting in sixth, Atletico Madrid are the second favourites to secure a top-four spot in La Liga, this regardless of their underwhelming form with Diego Simeone at the helm this season. Of course, the departures of Antoine Griezmann, Rodri and Diego Godin, three core players, didn't aid their cause and a flurry of new arrivals were always going to take time to settle into their new surroundings, but Atletico's inability to turn draws into wins could prove their downfall.


Indeed, Atletico have drawn more matches (12) than any other La Liga side this season and this hasn't aided their cause in the quest for a top-four finish and unless they can iron out this weakness to their game, then a best price of 1/2 to secure a top-four spot isn't worth backing. Rather, Real Sociedad to finish in the Champions League places at 2/1 presents better value in this market.

La Real are one of the most exciting teams in La Liga this season. Only Barcelona (63) and Real Madrid (49) have scored more league goals than Real Sociedad (43) in Spain's top tier this term, with young trio Mikel Merino, Martin Odegaard and Mikel Oyarzabal all excelling under Imanol Alguacil. Their final two games of the season, where they take on Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, respectively, will prove decisive as they seek to ply their trade in Europe's elite club competition next season.

The outside bet of the four stand out candidates to fill the final two top four spots comes in the form of Getafe. The battling Madrid side have performed above expectations to sit fifth with 11 games to go with their determined approach a welcome reprieve from those gunning for European football. 24 of the 29 players Getafe have used this season have been yellow carded at least one this season and the aggressive style of play won't sit well with opponents, but has clearly been effective. Jose Bordalas' side are the 11/4 outsiders to secure a top-four finish, however it may be that their inexperience sees them just miss out on a Champions League place for 2020/21.

Relegation

Like the title race and the push for Champions League action, the battle to avoid the drop is anything but clear-cut. Six points separate the bottom four teams in La Liga as we near the final stretch of 2019/20, with Celta Vigo the side keeping their head above water. Now unbeaten in their last five league matches, the Celestes will hope to maintain that form over the coming weeks. The break may work against them in that regard, but they have the second easiest run in according to WhoScored.com's rating system, with the average of their remaining opponents coming in at 6.62.

And the odds seem to mirror the ease of their remaining 11 matches, with Celta Vigo at a best price of 7/2 to be relegated, making them the fifth favourites to drop out of La Liga. At the opposite end of the scale, Mallorca, who sit one place and one point behind Celta Vigo, have the hardest run in, with the average WhoScored.com rating of the final 11 matches a testing 6.72.


Indeed, Mallorca kick off their return to domestic action with Saturday's welcome of title chasing Barcelona and face five of the current top eight before the season draws to a close. Of those five outings, four are away from home. It's worth noting that Mallorca have the worst away record in La Liga this season, picking up just five points from 13 matches, and they have a best price of 1/3 to be relegated.

In 19th, much has been made of Leganes' plight and unsurprisingly so. They have lost two of their three top scorers to La Liga rivals, with Youssef En-Nesyri joining Sevilla and Martin Braithwaite contentiously departing for Barcelona as cover for the then-injured Luis Suarez. At 8/15 to be relegated, they are the second favourites to drop out of La Liga behind bottom of the table Espanyol, whose best price is 2/9. However, Espanyol have the luxury of a striker of Raul de Tomas' calibre at their disposal.

The Spaniard has been excellent since his January arrival, scoring four goals from six outings to yield a WhoScored.com rating of 7.55. If he can pick up where he left off when the league resumes this week, then it may even be worth backing Espanyol to stay up at a best price of 4/1. There is plenty of time for Espanyol to turn their fortunes around, particularly with De Tomas spearheading their survival charge.

Golden Boot

There's an overwhelming favourite to secure the Pichichi Trophy. A certain Lionel Messi leads the scoring charts with 19 league goals to his name this season, at least five more than Real Madrid's Karim Benzema in second. While he is touch and go for Barcelona's first game back due to a quad strain, Messi is streaks ahead in the race for the golden boot for good reason and that's reflected in that his best price to land the gong is 1/16. Perhaps this a market to avoid for now, unless second favourite Benzema (15/2) can strike up a run of form in the coming weeks.