Commentary

Real Madrid still controls own destiny

Despite its dramatic 3-2 home loss to Barcelona that handed La Liga lead back to the Catalan club on the tiebreaker (head-to-head), Real Madrid remains in the driver's seat to win the Spanish league title.

But Real Madrid won't have much time to refocus as it is back in La Liga action on Wednesday at Deportivo Coruna.

"Nothing changes, we still have things in our own hands and we are only thinking about Wednesday’s game," Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insisted on Monday. "It was not about deciding who wins La Liga. A win, loss or draw means that nothing changes. We are disappointed as overall we did not deserve to lose, but soccer is like that. We do not have too much time to wallow and have to get over it."

Real Madrid's big concern is that captain Sergio Ramos, red carded on Sunday night, will be out, adding to Zidane's defensive worries. Pepe (broken rubs) and Raphael Varane (hamstring injury) are out injured, leaving Nacho as his only first-team center back. Madrid's options against Coruna include shifting defensive midfielder Casemiro or right back Danilo next to Nacho.

Five rounds are left in La Liga season. After midweek action, play will take place over the next four weekends -- April 29-30, May 6-7, May 13-14 and May 20-21.

Real Madrid  Schedule: 
April 26 -- at Deportivo La Coruna (16th)
April 29 -- Valencia (12th)
May 2 -- Atletico Madrid -- UCL
May 6 -- at Granada (19th)
May 10 -- at Atletico Madrid -- UCL
May 14 -- Sevilla (4th)
May 21 -- at Malaga (15th)
TBD -- Celta (10th)

Barcelona Schedule: 

April 26 -- Osasuna (20th)
April 29 -- at Espanyol (9th)
May 6 -- Villarreal (5th)
May 14 -- at Las Palmas (13th)
May 21 -- Eibar (8th)
May 27 -- Alaves -- Copa del Rey final
Note: In parentheses is the current place in La Liga standings.

Real Madrid also has a makeup game against Celta. Their match in Vigo was postponed in February because bad weather damaged the Celta field. Madrid has midweek matches against Atletico in the two legs of their Champions League semifinals on May 2 and May 10 so the earliest it can play Celta is May 16 or May 17.

Barcelona was eliminated by Juventus from the Champions League but is still involved in the Copa del Rey, where it will face Alaves on May 27, a week after La Liga ends.

Barca leads La Liga and could sweep its final five games but could still lose out to Real Madrid, which needs no worse than five wins and a tie in its last six games to win its first league title since 2012.
1 comment about "Real Madrid still controls own destiny".
  1. beautiful game, April 25, 2017 at 11:07 a.m.

    No question that RM is in full control of their own La Liga destiny. And so is Barcelona which has lost several games to the leagues bottom dwellers. The latter needs to win every remaining game and hope for RM to slip up. Anything is possible, but it's really for Barca not to stumble. Most concerning is Barca's mental overconfidence by constantly being on the attack and not killing off the game; that mentality needs to change if it has hopes of a strong finish to the season and any possibility of digging themselves out of the hole. Most important is for Neymar to abandon his ego-style and think "team" first. No matter what happens, Barca needs to reinvent the squad with players better than GOMES, Digne, Mathieu, D. Suarez, and obtain quality MFs and defenders.

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