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Crunch time for La Liga title race, contenders go head to head

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PHOTO: Lluis GENE / AFP

Gerard Pique said in any normal season this weekend would decide La Liga’s champion but even he admitted this time there are no guarantees.

Today afternoon, Barcelona face Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou and tomorrow, Real Madrid play Sevilla at Valdebebas, Spain’s frenzied title race coming to a head in a criss-cross of first against third and second versus fourth.

When it is all over, there will be three games left and Atletico could be five points clear or Real Madrid and Barca may be first and second, level on points, with Atletico just a single point behind.

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Sevilla, presumed to have dropped out of the running after their surprise defeat by Athletic Bilbao on Monday, immediately have a chance to force their way back.

In terms of the table, only an Atletico victory might feel definitive, and even then only if it is followed by Sevilla winning away at Real Madrid, the two most unlikely results combining to leave Atletico’s chasers needing an incredible swing in the final three games.

Any other scenario will ensure the race is still open on Monday and if form is anything to go by, there will more surprises to come.

In the last two weeks, the top four have played 10 games between them and only half of those have resulted in expected victories. Athletic Bilbao in ninth have beaten Atletico and then Sevilla, Real Betis in seventh held Real Madrid, and eighth-placed Granada won at Camp Nou.

After three months in which Atletico seemed to be the only ones faltering, their 10-point advantage fizzling as the other three hit their stride, suddenly nobody is in form and nothing is guaranteed.

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