This Week in LaLiga: Title Race Gets Really Interesting

From the title race getting even tighter across two matchdays to Iñaki Williams making history and landmarks in Seville and San Sebastian…  here’s all you need to know from around Spanish football this week.

The title couldn’t be tighter

There is no league with as much drama at the top as LaLiga Santander right now, with just three separating the top four sides: Atletico de Madrid sit first on 73, Real Madrid second with 71, Barcelona in third with 71, and Sevilla in fourth with 70. Barça look to be in the strongest position, with a game in hand and yet to host Atleti at the Camp Nou. Having said that, that direct match-up means both Barça and Atleti have their destiny in their own hands.

Simeone matches Antić

While Atleti will be disappointed to have lost 2-1 at Athletic Club this weekend, their midweek win over Huesca means that they do stay top of the standings for now. That midweek win also took Simeone level with legendary coach Radomir Antić for the most matchdays at the top of LaLiga Santander in charge of the club (39).

Four points separate 16th from 19th

The relegation battle promises to be just as fascinating as we approach the final weeks of the LaLiga Santander season. Just four points separate the teams between 16th and 19th, the two just above the drop zone and the two just inside it. With Alavés in 16th on 31 points, Elche in 17th on 30, Real Valladolid in 18th on 29 and Huesca in 19th on 27, we have a thrilling contest on our hands.

Sevilla seal Champions League qualification

With their Andalusian derby victory over Granada on Sunday, Sevilla have already mathematically sealed their qualification for the 2021/22 Champions League, reaching Europe’s premier club competition for the eighth time in 14 years. Their title rivals Atlético, Real Madrid and Barcelona are also already qualified for next season’s tournament.

Iñaki Williams overtakes Arconada

Athletic Club forward Iñaki Williams’ appearance against Atleti this weekend was his 189th consecutive LaLiga Santander matchday with an appearance, moving him ahead of Luis Arconada into second all-time in LaLiga history. Only Real Sociedad legend Juan Antonio Larrañaga has a longer streak (202), but even that record looks within striking distance for Williams.

The rejection of the Super League

The biggest story in the world of football this past week was a proposal to create a European Super League, yet this was completely dismissed by the footballing community. The 39 LaLiga clubs not invited to be part of the project unanimously rejected the idea, while players, coaches, journalists and politicians across Spain spoke out against it. “Global resistance over the past few days has proven that a closed, elitist league is unviable and unwanted,” LaLiga said in an official statement, a sentiment also expressed across various other countries.

Carvajal and Hazard return from injury

Real Madrid are preparing to take on Chelsea in the Champions League, with the first leg of their semi-final coming up on Tuesday. Despite their uneven domestic form, Zinedine Zidane has had some welcome news with the return from injury of both Dani Carvajal and Eden Hazard. They could play important roles against the English side.

Lopetegui, the Special Olympics Global Ambassador

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui has renewed his commitment to work with the Special Olympics organisation, after four years of involvement already. He said: “I feel pride in being the ambassador for the athletes and coaches of the Special Olympics. We all need to come together and feel the power of sport and share experiences to learn and grow. I feel enormously privileged to represent the Special Olympics as their Global Ambassador.”

Imanol Alguacil reaches 100 LaLiga Santander games

Real Sociedad’s 2-1 victory over RC Celta las week was coach Imanol Alguacil’s 100th LaLiga Santander match in charge of the club. His record is 42 wins, 27 draws and 31 defeats, the third best record of Real Sociedad coaches after the first 100 games. Only Alberto Ormaetxea and John Toshack had better records.

Euro 2020 moves from Bilbao to Seville

Euro 2020 organisers have announced that Athletic Club’s San Mamés stadium won’t host matches at this summer’s European Championship, as a result of complications due to the coronavirus pandemic. There will still be matches in Spain, though, as Seville’s La Cartuja will have three group stage games and one last 16 match.