FC Barcelona have four home fixtures and three away trips left, in which wins are more important than ever after Sunday's setback against Cádiz
There are seven games to go. With FC Barcelona now out of the Copa del Rey and the Europa League, all the remaining fixtures are in La Liga, where things have got considerably more difficult after losing at home to Cádiz on Sunday.
Fading hopes in La Liga
The seven remaining games are
That’s four at Camp Nou and three on the road. The ultimate goal is still to win the league title, although it’s a huge ask. Real Madrid went 18 points clear of the Catalans after beating Osasuna on Wednesday, although that difference becomes 12 if Barça win their two games in hand.
So not only do Barça need to win all seven remaining games to win the league, but they also need Madrid to suffer a monumental collapse. The mathematical possibility is still there, but it is only a very, very remote one.
On track for a Champions League place
Xavi has always made it clear, however, that the primary objective is not to win the title, where Barça’s fate is not in their own hands. Instead, the most pressing matter is ensuring qualification for next season’s Champions League, which is more pressing than ever now that the Europa League route has been closed.
As things stand, Barça remain very well poised to ensure a top four finish. They started the week in second, tied on 60 points with Atlético Madrid and Sevilla, but with a game in hand on both those two.
What’s more, Real Betis, the strongest placed challenger to the top four, squandered a huge chance by losing at home to Elche on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Atlético were held to a 0-0 draw with Granada.
And the side in sixth, Real Sociedad, are precisely the team that Barça visit on Thursday. A win for Barça would put an almost unassailable gap between themselves and the Basques. But should Real win, then the points difference would be cut to just two.