After last week’s report on the English Premier League run-in we focus this week on La Liga’s title race in which three teams are battling for the 2014 championship. This report is a shortened version of the regular weekly podcast. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above and you can read the transcript below with key vocabulary explained at the bottom of the post.
Listening Report: Who will win 2014 La Liga?
Since former Argentinian midfielder Diego Simeone took over, Atlético Madrid have won the Europa League, the European Super Cup, the Copa del Rey and have just qualified for their first Champions League semi-final in 40 years. They are also top of the Spanish league table with six games to play and if they hang on then they would win their first title since 1996. Despite coming third last season, few would have tipped them to be so close to winning the title at this stage of the season. Apart from striker Diego Costa there are few stars in the side but they are well disciplined, have incredible team work and spirit; and mentally are much stronger than previous ‘Atleti’ sides. Their remaining six fixtures involve four games against struggling sides, as well as a trip to Valencia before finishing their season away at Barcelona. Currently one point ahead of the Catalan side if they win five and then draw at the Nou Camp then Atlético Madrid will be crowned champions. Prediction: 1st – but only just.
One point behind Atlético Madrid, Barcelona still have their fate in their own hands as they host the Madrid side on the last day of the season – win all six games and they will be champions. While this must give the Catalan side hope, the recent Champions League exit at the hands of Atlético Madrid may have left a psychological scar. Barcelona have often lacked the fluency of recent times this season but their experience means that their final games should be overcome fairly easily – though they too have to play Valencia before the end of the season. It really does come down to the final game and I am not sure that Barcelona will be able to break down Atlético Madrid. Second place for the current title holders then.
Since two defeats in four days at the end of March – that was a home loss against Barcelona and then another one away at Sevilla – the Madrid side has fallen to third place with the title out of their hands. They are three points behind the leaders but in Spain goal difference is not used so the head-to-head records will come into play and Real’s is not good enough to overtake Atlético or Barcelona. Their run-in is slightly easier than their rivals but they need them both to slip up before hoping for a draw in the final game at the Nou Camp on May 17th. Prediction: Madrid will finish third and their focus is on the Champions League instead.
if they hang on: Continue to lead; do not falter
few would have tipped them: Not many people thought they would do well
struggling sides: A team that is not doing well – maybe involved in the relegation battle
still have their fate in their own hands: They can decide their own fate/destiny. If they win all their games they will be champions as their final game is against Atletico.
may have left a psychological scar: They may be affected by the fact that Atletico beat them in the Champions League
the title out of their hands: They need other teams to lose for them to win the title.
the head-to-head records come into play: Results involving the top teams are used rather than goal difference.
to slip up: To lose against an unfancied side