Indeed, Real's form has been poor since the New Year, losing eight times in all competitions and four of its last seven matches in La Liga -- shocking statistics for a club that's seven-points clear at the top of its domestic league. But Lowe points that much of the responsibility for Real's lead falls squarely on the shoulders of Barcelona, which has been equally poor. The "unfit, poorly organized" and "plodding" Catalans have had chance after chance of bridging that gap, but have squandered every opportunity. Only a few weeks ago, Barca had cut the lead to two points, but then lost the following two games. Then, last week, they twice surrendered the lead to walk away from Almeria with just a point. Meanwhile, third-place Villarreal has all but caught up with the Blaugrana, and now sit just two points outside second place.