After a shock second-in-a-row defeat for Barcelona last night away at fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid now sit three points behind their great rivals, and across the capital, Atletico Madrid are now level on points with the Catalans.

The title race is now wide open, with two games to go before the Christmas break and four games until the halfway point in the season all three teams will believe they can be the league champions.

However, the next few games will certainly pose a challenge for the current leaders Barcelona.

After their defeat away at Bilbao, they next host fifth-placed Villarreal on the 15th. They then travel to the capital to play Getafe, before hosting Elche after the Christmas break.

Then for match day 19, they travel back to the capital to play Atletico Madrid.

Atletico Madrid, having already beaten Real 1-0 at the Bernabeu this season, will certainly look forward to the challenge, as they face a rather more easy run in to the the fixture. They know that Barcelona are hoping to bring injured Lionel Messi back for the game after their poor run.

Real Madrid, however, certainly will be most settled. They have already played both Barcelona and Atletico, losing to both, but know that their rivals risk dropping points over the next few weeks and will certainly be watching closely.

The title race seems to close too call and there will be a hope that Atletico Madrid can keep up their form all the way to the end of the campaign. Let's not forget that last season they tailed off after 30 games and left it a two horse race between the usual sides.

This season certainly looks to be the most exciting La Liga title race yet.

While Barcelona remain odds-on favourites, Real Madrid at 2/1 isn't too bad a bet with their form since El Clasico being sensational.

But Atletico at 7/1 is an excellent bet. Football is unpredictable and maybe, Athletico can sneak the title from rivals.

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Topics:
#Football
#Lionel Messi
#Barcelona
#Real Madrid