La Liga Power Rankings: Week 26 Edition
Week 26 La Liga Power Rankings
Things are changing quickly in La Liga. This week reminded everybody that the top three teams are clearly a few steps above the rest of the league and that they can’t afford to drop more points if they want to keep themselves in the title race.
After the action was played in Week 26, Real Madrid maintains the top spot in the standings after an impressive draw against Atletico de Madrid, while both FC Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao both had spectacular wins that gave them more than three points as they seem to be back in the race for their objectives.
The rest of the table didn't change much from last week with Elche, Malaga and Levante being the only three teams that were able to climb a spot in the standings. It seems like everything is set at the top, but there are very interesting battles to qualify for Europe and to avoid relegation.
These rankings not only consider the position in the standings, but there are also several factors that come into play. Possible injuries and suspensions, the form in recent weeks and the opposition faced in the last game all come into play when ranking the teams. While the top three are known by everybody, the rest of the spots are up for grabs and can change after each week.
Check back next Tuesday to see an updated version of La Liga’s power rankings. How are the teams ranked after this weekend?
20. Real Betis
Real Betis might be progressing in the UEFA Europa League, but their fate in La Liga is a whole different story. Los Verdiblancas managed to draw against Villarreal away from home but just like last week, their fate doesn't look very bright and it seems like only a miracle will save them from being relegated.
19. Real Valladolid
While it’s true that Valladolid managed to avoid another loss away from home after drawing against Malaga, La Pucela aren’t the strong team they were last year under Miroslav Djukic's management. It wouldn't be a surprise to see them being relegated once the season is over, and their poor play on both sides of the pitch is a fair reflection of their position in the standings.
18. Rayo Vallecano
Rayo Vallecano lost some key players last season and that has been noticeable this year, although the team has improved as of late. Their latest win over Valencia is a clear example of that, but a single game doesn't change what the squad has done all season. They still are a strong candidate to be relegated unless they improve their offensive play.
Almería has some interesting players on their squad, but they are a below-average team by all indication. They have managed to stay out of the relegation zone so far, but they are a lock to continue in the bottom part of the standings due to a lack of impact players -- something that was perfectly shown against a top-tier side like FC Barcelona.
The Madrid-based outfit is only four points clear of relegation, and they won’t improve their position unless they can tighten up things on the defensive side of the ball. This week, they only managed to get a scoreless draw against Espanyol as they were unable to top a winnable opponent at home, a trend that has been quite constant this season.
Malaga have been heavily hit by the departure of former manager Manuel Pellegrini and the majority of their star players. As a result, Bernd Schuster is struggling to compete on a weekly basis and their latest result, a draw at home against a lowly Valladolid side, is the perfect proof of how poorly the team has played this year.
14. Granada CF
Granada has a serious issue: they can’t score goals. When that happens, they don’t win many games. Their issue was shown once again this week against Athletic Bilbao where they were outmatched on both ends on the pitch on their way to a 0-4 loss that showed some of the team's true colors.
Osasuna were coming off a stellar performance against Atletico de Madrid, but they regressed mightily this week, losing away from home against Levante. This lack of consistency has hurt the team in a big way, and that's the main reason why they aren't in the upper half of the standings.
12. Celta de Vigo
While Celta de Vigo hasn't been able to translate their good game into actual results, they better start doing it sooner rather than later. Their recent loss against Elche wasn't an outcome expected by any means, and Los Celestes definitely need to turn things around to avoid battling with relegation.
Elche joined La Liga this year and while their main objective is to avoid instant relegation, their play has been quite surprising. Their recent win against Celta de Vigo was the perfect example of how they've managed to stay off the red zone, and they need to continue down this road until the end of the campaign.
Espanyol had a disappointing display away from home once again as they couldn't top Getafe in a winnable contest where they dropped two points they could've easily used. Unless the team can start to put some consistent performances away from home, they won't leave the middle of the standings any time soon.
9. Valencia CF
Los Che looks much improved since the arrival of Juan Antonio Pizzi and they have enough talent to make a strong push for a European spot. They don't depend on themselves, however, so their result against Rayo Vallecano is an awful one that goes to show that they can’t afford to drop more points if they want to keep themselves in the European race.
Los Nervionenses appear to be trapped in the middle of the standings and while they have a lot of talent on their roster, they don’t seem to be able to string a number of solid performances. Their recent win against Real Sociedad is an encouraging one and if Los Nervionenses can continue playing like this in a consistent basis, they should reach European spots sooner rather than later.
7. UD Levante
Levante was one of the big winners of the week with a strong performance against Osasuna. Los Granotes moved up to the eighth place in the standings and now they could be in line for a European push if they can repeat this performance on a consistent basis.
El Submarino Amarillo failed to get three winnable points at home against Real Betis, so they dropped in this week's power rankings. Despite the fact that the team has managed to turn a few heads this year, they are cooling off in recent weeks so they need to return to what they did at the beginning of the year to continue fighting for a UEFA Europa League spot.
5. Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad were coming off a spectacular win against FC Barcelona, but La Erreala regressed mightily this week, losing against Sevilla and failing to advance in the standings. They need to stop dropping winnable points as they need to keep fighting for a European spot.
4. Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao managed to get another spectacular win aided by a hat-trick from Aritz Aduriz, and they cemented their place as a top-four squad this season. Los Leones are currently qualifying to the UEFA Champions League and they need to continue down this road until the end of the campaign.
3. Atletico de Madrid
Atletico de Madrid needed to turn things around after a loss to Osasuna and while they couldn't top Real Madrid in a thrilling derbi, their performance was very encouraging. Los Rojiblancos need to continue down this road because they won't be able to maintain their title quest if they continue to drop winnable games.
2. FC Barcelona
After a stunning loss against Real Sociedad, FC Barcelona needed to turn things around. They did it in their regular fashion, beating Almeria with ease. Los Blaugranas are alive in the title race and they need to keep pushing hard to fight with Real Madrid for the first spot in the standings.
1. Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo emerged to save Real Madrid from what would've been a devastating loss against Atletico Madrid and that allowed Los Blancos to maintain the first spot in the standings. They are also the top team in my power rankings as they keep showing that they are the team to beat this year.
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