Stronger position than ever
FC Barcelona lead la Liga by eight points, and the Liga title is there for the taking
It's been a bizarre weekend in La Liga. Of the teams ranked second to sixth, Atlético Madrid could only draw and the other four all suffered defeat. Barça's most immediate pursuer, Real Madrid, slipped to a 1-0 loss in Mallorca, and going into the game with Sevilla, Xavi knew that a victory would put his team eight points clear at the top of the table.
And win they did. And convincingly. 3-0, playing champagne football in the process, with the goals coming courtesy of Jordi Alba, Gavi and Raphinha.
There are still 18 games and 54 points left to play for, so it would be dangerous to start crowing too early, but there is no question that Barça are in a very, very happy place right now.
In fact, no team in the history of La Liga that has led by at least 8 points at this stage of the season has ever failed to go on to win title.
Also, on the last eight occasions that Barça have been eight or more points ahead of Real Madrid after 20 games, they have always gone on to be proclaimed champions. Those seasons were 1997/98, 1998/99, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2008/09, 2010/11, 2012/13, 2015/16, 2017/18 and 2018/19.
But that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of work still to be done. Games are won on the pitch, not on calculators or in the history books. The next page of this particular history gets written next Sunday at 9pm CET in Villarreal, and the next league game at Spotify Camp Nou is the Sunday after at the same time, against Cadiz.