In recent seasons the Spanish La Liga has been dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona with Atletico Madrid ending their monopoly last season. However, after 10 matches of the current campaign, Real lead the table but four other teams are within two points and then Celta de Vigo and Malaga are not too far adrift of the leading pack. At one stage, Bacelona appeared to be holding a firm grip on the domestic league after not conceding a goal in eight matches but two defeats later and especially after a home loss to Celta de Vigo, the title race has become an open affair.
A title race involving several teams can only be deemed a bonus for competition in the league and Celta de Vigo’s 1-0 victory at the Nou Camp during the weekend is proof that Barcelona can no longer take certain games for granted.
Celta de Vigo have never won any major silverware throughout their history and were only recently promoted back into the top flight at the end of the 2011-12 campaign. A 3-1 home defeat by Villarreal is their only loss this season and although Barcelona hit the woodwork on four occasions in Saturday’s encounter, a goal by Joaquim Larrivey settled the match.
Argentinian Larrivey has already netted seven league goals this term after arriving from Rayo Vallecano on a free transfer in the summer and he eclipsed a team comprising Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar who all failed to score against the Celta de Vigo defence. The team from Vigo are now just five points adrift of Real Madrid.
It was a second successive league defeat for Barcelona after losing 3-1 at Real Madrid and it is the first time in three years that they failed to score at the Nou Camp in a league match. It may be early stages in the La Liga campaign but more results such as happened on Saturday will enliven the season.
Real Madrid have already been beaten by Real Sociedad and their city neighbours Atletico before embarking on a seven match winning sequence while Valencia and Sevilla may have taken heart by Atletico’s title win last season by reckoning that they could also mount a challenge for La Liga crown. Sevilla have lost twice this season and a shock defeat at Deportivo La Coruna has prevented Valencia from claiming the current lead in the league table.
As the season progresses with the possibility of the stronger squads emerging at the head of the pack, Barcelona and Real Madrid may dominate once again but until that eventuality occurs, it is refreshing to witness seven teams within six points of each other after 10 games of the season. More shocks results such as Celta de Vigo produced on Saturday would be most welcome for the Spanish football public.
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