Although it’s still early days, the La Liga title race is currently as tight as it’s been in decades. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Celta Vigo all jointly sit top of the table on 18 points each. The last time the La Liga race was this close was in the 1993-94 season when Real, Barça and Real Sociedad jointly occupied the top spot.
Trailing just slightly behind, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal are currently tied on 16 points each, bringing it to a total of five teams currently in contention to top the standings in Spain.
Despite both being hit by a spate of injuries, Real and Barça maintained their winning ways this weekend: Real Madrid dispatched Levante 3-0 on Saturday with Marcelo opening the scoring 27 minutes in. Moments later, Cristiano Ronaldo scored Real’s second and became the club’s all-time leading scorer in the process. Jese Rodriguez added a third goal near the end of regulation time.
A sparkling performance from Neymar led Barcelona to a 5-2 win over Rayo Vallecano. With Lionel Messi and Xavi both sidelined by injury, the Brazilian took center stage, winning and scoring two penalties in the first half after Barça had gone down a goal courtesy of a Javi Guerra strike in the 14th minute.
Neymar found the net twice again in the second half and set up teammate Luis Suarez for Barça’s fifth on the night.
While it was a convincing win, Barcelona’s ongoing defensive problems were exposed as Jozabed notched a second for Rayo in the dying moments of the match.
Elsewhere, Antoine Griezmann and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco both scored to lift Atletico Madrid to a 2-0 win over Real Sociedad. The win kept Diego Simeone’s team in touch with the top of the table, while piling more pressure on beleaguered Sociedad manager, David Moyes.
Meanwhile rumored Arsenal transfer target, Nolito struck late to allow Celta Vigo to snatch a 2-1 victory away at Villarreal.
La Liga’s big three – Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid – all have big matches in the Champions League this week before resuming domestic competition next weekend.