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Whose Nerve Holds To Win The Title

With just over two weeks before the Liga season concludes, it is squeaky bum time in Barcelona and Madrid.

There’s every chance this Liga race is going down to the final day, but what team has the advantage in the run-in?

Both clubs are on 81 points, but it remains advantage Real with Los Blancos having a game in hand over their rivals.

Here is an analyze of the duo’s run-in, and look at where the title could be won and lost…

Real Madrid – Remaining Fixtures
Saturday May 6 – Granada (A)
Sunday May 14 – Sevilla (H)
Wednesday May 17 – Celta Vigo (A)
Sunday May 21 – Malaga (A)

It’s in Real’s hands. Four wins from four and they will lift the league trophy for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

To end that five-year drought, Zinedine Zidane’s side must navigate past already-relegated Granada before hosting Sevilla in a week’s time.

Jorge Sampaoli’s side pose the greatest obstacle standing between Real and a 33rd league title. With a Champions League spot unlikely to be secured for Sevilla (Villarreal are currently five points behind the fourth-placed side), there will be plenty to play for at the Bernabeu.

It was indeed Sevilla who shattered Real’s hopes of making it 41 matches unbeaten back in January, winning 2-1 thanks to Stevan Jovetic’s injury-time winner. Could Sevilla achieve a league double over Real and crush their hopes of winning La Liga with one foul swoop?

From then on, Real are on the road in their final two games. The game in hand comes on Wednesday May 17 when travelling to Celta Vigo, while they face Malaga away on the final day.

Both clubs are safely mid-table, but they still remain dangerous. Celta have already beaten Real and Barcelona this season, while they are currently embroiled in a Europa League semi-final tie with Manchester United which is far from over.

Malaga meanwhile, have hit a purple patch, winning five of their last six league matches. These are no gimmes for Real.

Barcelona – Remaining Fixtures
Saturday May 6 – Villarreal (H)
Sunday May 14 – Las Palmas (A)
Sunday May 21 – Eibar (H)

On paper, it looks pretty good for Barca. Their greatest challenge comes this weekend against Villarreal, who are currently fifth and hoping for a Sevilla collapse.

And with Sevilla still to face Real, Villarreal will be fully aware that a shock at the Nou Camp can boost their Champions League hopes no end. But beating Barca at home is no tall order – the club last tasted success at the home of the Catalan Giants in the 2007/08 season, winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Marcos Senna and Jon Dahl Tomasson.

Beyond Villarreal, it is a trip to 14th-placed Las Palmas before hosting Eibar on the last day. It would be a huge shock if Barca come out of these two games with anything less than six points, but that’s not to say it isn’t possible.

SO WHERE IS THE TITLE GOING?
Despite dominating once more, Barca and Real haven’t had it all their own way this season. It would be foolish to suggest both sides will win their remaining games, but it would also be difficult to bet against that from happening.

With that in mind, we would have to say Real Madrid, simply because they need 10 points from a possible 12 to guarantee the title.

WHAT ABOUT GOAL DIFFERENCE?
The title is Barcelona’s if it comes down to goal difference. Having already scored 104 goals, while conceding just 33, their GD of 71 is far superior to Real’s GD of 53. Of course, big-margin victories are not out of the question, but this is a mark even Real are unlikely to surpass.

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