There was a sense of excitement amongst many, as Atletico Madrid rose to the summit of the Liga BBVA table a few weeks ago.

Finally, a team capable of challenging mainstays Barcelona and Real Madrid. And Atletico have done just that, sitting level on points with Barcelona.

But it isn't only Atletico Madrid that are excelling. The ability to take points off the top teams represents the growing strength of Spain's so called 'lesser teams'.

Saturday's 3-1 victory by Real Sociedad over Barcelona is an example of this. Yes, Messi looked off the pace, and Barca were lethargic after their European exploits. But take nothing away from Sociedad, who were thoroughly impressive throughout.

A clearer example of this would be Osasuna's comprehensive win over Atletico Madrid. Madrid conceded three goals as they lost a side who until recently were firmly in a relegation scrap. Few would have foreseen this.

This seemingly puts Real Madrid in driving seat. But with three different leaders in four weeks, calling a winner remains difficult.

It must be acknowledged that fourth place Athletic Bilbao are well off the pace, sitting 13 points off Atletico Madrid. But their battle for champions league football with Real Sociedad and Villareal may prove to be interesting in it's own right.

One could even say that this season is comparable to that of the Premier League. Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City challenge for the title, whilst Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton, and to an extent, Manchester United battle for fourth.

Both at the top and the bottom the league has become more unpredictable. One can cite the change in fortunes of Malaga as an indication of this.

Around this time last year, the Andalusians were flying high in the Champions league, reaching nearly the semi-finals only to be knocked out in dramatic fashion to Borussia Dortmund.

11 months later, Malaga are fighting for their lives, hovering precariously over the relegation zone.

Malaga's capitulation is not only an indictment of their poor form, but of the impressive performances from those around them.

Villarreal, who were only promoted this season already occupy sixth in the table, as they look to push on for the Champions League football that has eluded them since 2009.

Meanwhile Real Betis have also fallen by the wayside, dropping from seventh last year to the bottom of the league.

Who is next to fall from grace or rise from the ashes is uncertain. What is certain is that La Liga has become less and less predictable. And far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing.

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Topics:
Football
La Liga