Friday, December 16, 2011

Barca have won the battle, Madrid can still win the war

First thing's first - well done to Barca. It pains me to say it, but after all the hype, all the good football by Madrid this season in the run up to the game, and the apparent below-par performances of the Catalans (poor away form, loss at Getafe etc.), Pep's boys last night showed Mourinho and his men (or should that 'boys' and 'men' be the other way around?) that Los Blancos still have a way to go to catch their bitter rivals. A way to go, but just how far? Not miles, going on last night's showing, and form over the season as a whole so far. Barca fans get the bragging rights, again, but they know the gap's closing, and they know that titles aren't decided in December.
That was the reaction from Guardiola, too, and rightly so. Match details aside, the reaction of both managers after the match highlighted one thing - that although psychologically Barca will have the upper hand, victory for Barca only makes the La Liga title race closer than recent seasons. The post-match press conferences were, by Clasico standards, low key from both clubs. Last night's game was always going to be more important for Barca - victory for Madrid would have put them in pole position for the title. Beating Barca and winning their game in hand would have put them a huge nine points clear - a big gap to close in what's certain to be a two-horse race. As it is now, a win for Madrid in their game in hand would see them regain top spot by three points although Barca do now have the better head-to-head record.
Barca have won the battle, but Madrid can still win the war.


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