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Week 22 in La Liga

The Monday game is over, here’s what went down.

2018 La Liga Football Real Betis v Villarreal Feb 3rd Photo by Fran Santiago/Action Plus via Getty Images

An interesting week 22 in La Liga. Those who complain about lack of competitiveness in the league might not have been happy with this week’s results, because of the top 3 teams, only Atletico Madrid came away with three points. Of course, they were the only one playing at home, too.

At the bottom, Malaga are even farther adrift at the bottom after conceding a late, late goal in Las Palmas. Levante picked up a useful point against Real Madrid.

At the top: Barcelona 58; Atleti 49; Valencia 40; Real Madrid 39; VILLARREAL 37; Sevilla 33; Eibar 32; Celta 31.

You might be looking at the table and wondering, when was the last time the top three didn’t include both Real Madrid and Barcelona? Well, it’s hard to remember now, but there was a time when it happened regularly: 1999 to 2004 is a case in point.

Real Madrid last finished out of the top 3 in 1999-2000; “Super Depor” won the title that season with 69 points; Real Madrid were 5th on 62. (Villarreal were in the Segunda that season).

It wasn’t until the 2004-05 season that Barca and Real Madrid finished one-two as they had in 1998-99, but after that it was a regular occurrence—so regular, that the only two times Barca and Madrid haven’t finished one-two (in whatever order) has been 2007-08 (Villarreal finished second behind Madrid) and 2013-14, when Atletico Madrid won the championship by three points, the other two teams essentially even behind them.

Bottom: Alaves 22, Levante 20, Depor 17, Las Palmas 17, Malaga 13.

Who’s hot: Atleti, and despite last week, Villarreal and Celta.

Who’s not: Valencia, Sevilla.

Most unsurprising result: Getafe 0-0 Leganés. To use one of my father’s favorite phrases, anyone who expected a goal in this match needed their head examined!!

Big matches next week: Valencia-Levante: can Marce right things in a hotly contested derby?, Sevilla-Girona, Real Madrid-Sociedad, Villarreal-Alaves are all expected home wins but can be tricky.