Not a competitive league they said. Barcelona walk the title every year they said. No team can break the strangle hold of the top two they said.
That basically sums up what the vast majority of people think about La Liga.
Real Madrid and Barcelona are always left to fight it out between themselves, and bar one season under Jose Mourinho, in the last decade, Barcelona have been the almighty ones, dominant from start to finish, and sublime with it.
Well this season there is a new side in town and it is one that have threatened to break up the party since the arrival of their charismatic coach, Diego Simeone, and his micromanagement – which if anyone wanted to know, three seasons on, is still going strong.
The so called second side from Madrid already managed to break up the party last season somewhat, beating Real Madrid in the final of the Copa Del Rey, at the Santiago Bernabeu no less.
Then came the oh so predictable summer with the sale of star man Ramadel Falcao. Like Valencia and Sevilla before them, once a side in La Liga does well and has star players, they seem to be sold. Well unless you are Real or Barca of course, then you probably get in the Ballon d’Or nominations.
What was not expected was the emergence of Diego Costa, Arda Turan, the form of David Villa or the excellent young starlet Koke.
Atleti have gotten better and better as the season has gone on – and now sit top of the pile in La Liga. Clear on points after Barcelona lost in a shock defeat at the Camp Nou to Valencia.
Simeone and his men are flying high, and do not look like stopping. It is worth noting that the last time a club who were not Los Blancos or the Catalan giants managed to win the title in Spain it was Valencia. In the same season that Ronaldinho arrived at the Camp Nou and a certain David Beckham rocked up at the Bernabeu.
How ironic would it be if Atleti were able to recreate such a success in the season after the arrivals of Neymar and most expensive player in the world Gareth Bale? Unlikely? It once may have seemed so, but well into the second half of the season it seems more than possible. Probable even.
They lead the way at the top of course, and have their fabulous home record to boot. Barcelona have a very tough European tie against Manchester City to contend with and are not the impenetrable force they once were.
Real Madrid are, well, Real Madrid. Who now have to cope without Cristiano Ronaldo after the forward received a controversial roja at the San Mames.
Try as they might, Real Madrid could not become the first La Liga side to win at San Mames, and fell even further behind – yes you guessed it Atleti to boot. They are however tied on points with Barcelona, something to take heart in at the very least.
The last time Atleti had more points than either of the big two was also the season they won the double.
Big two they said. They could well have said it wrong.
Will Atleti win the title? Let us know your thoughts below.
9 years ago
Atleti have looked really good this season. I thought losing Falcao would put them well out of the mix but they look like a really strong unit. It is nice to see the competition in La Liga this year, and a real mix of battles across the league!