What We're Reading

Spain's the Title Nobody Wants to Win

  • Guardian, Wednesday, March 19, 2008 4:45 PM
The Guardian's Sid Lowe asks, who wants to win "the worst La Liga in history?" Certainly not Real Madrid or Barcelona. The league leader lost again on Saturday, suffering a 1-0 defeat away to Deportivo La Coruna, where Real hasn't won in 17 years. It would have been one thing to overturn that kind of record, but to go to the Riazor and play that "truly, deeply, desperately bad" (Madrid didn't manage a single shot on target) was enough to make ticket holders demand their money back. AS columnist Tomás Roncero later declared it the "worst in Madrid's history."

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.

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