Can Barcelona catch Real Madrid in the race for the La Liga title?

Barcelona have won the past two La Liga titles but securing a hat-trick might prove beyond them this time around.

Defeat to Malaga at the weekend saw them slip three points behind Real Madrid and it seems likely that Los Blancos will now go on to take the honours as they have a game in hand.

Real’s draw with city rivals Atletico seemed to open the door for the Catalans but it has been symptomatic of their campaign that they were unable to take advantage.

Whether they can overhaul their fierce rivals only time will tell and punters looking to back Luis Enrique’s side might want to check out the best online bookmakers from Big Free Bet.

It has not been vintage Barca this term, although, with the talent in the ranks, they are always able to turn it on but will now be without Neymar after his red card against Malaga.

The Brazil international is maturing into a star player at the Nou Camp, with a few pundits suggesting he is already on a par with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

His development is clearly good news for the club going forward but will he be able to inspire them to the title this time around?

Well certainly not from the stands as he serves a ban, but they still have 21 points to play for and, having made a miraculous comeback to knock Paris Saint Germain out of the Champions League, they will think nothing is impossible.

Both Spanish giants are still in Europe’s elite club competition and it may well be that whoever copes better with the congested fixture list will go on to take the title.

Real face German side Bayern Munich will Barca must play Serie A leaders Juventus over two legs for a place in the semi-finals.

However, there is the small matter of La Liga’s second Clasico of the season on Sunday, April 23, and Enrique will probably see the fixture as the last roll of the dice for his charges.

Should they beat Zinedine Zidane’s side then maybe it might cause a stumble at the Bernabeu but Real have been solid at home all season with 12 wins, four draws and no losses.

A draw in that match would not be a bad result for Real as it appears as though their run-in is not the toughest on paper.

Games against Sporting Gijon, Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia, Granada and Malaga are all winnable although Sevilla will be tough on May 14.

Barca have also been handed a relatively stress-free April and May and so the importance of the head-to-head showdown between the duo cannot be overstated.

There is nothing between the pair in terms of experience and, although Real have not won the title since 2012, they have claimed the Champions League twice in the past three years, and know how to win.

There is still time for a few twists and turns before the dust is settled on another Primera Division season but Zidane has a talented side hungry for success and, even without Ronaldo at his electrifying best, they should be crowned champions on May 21.

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