Ranking the Contenders in 2019-20’s Wide-Open La Liga Race

Lionel Messi during Barcelona v Manchester United Quarter Final Second Leg in April 2019. Photo by Bagu Blanco/BPI/REX/Shutterstock (10209048s)

We’re already 14 matchdays into the La Liga season, and the league is still anyone’s to take. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are leading the race with 28 points each, but other teams such as Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Athletic Club, and Real Sociedad remain in striking distance of first place.

Let’s take a look at the top contenders to win the La Liga crown this season.

1. FC Barcelona

It’s been a slow start to the season for Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona, which has already lost an almost-unimaginable three games. With defeats at the hands of Athletic Club, Granada, and Levante already behind them, it might seem like the Blaugrana might not be at their best.

It’s true: Barcelona is weaker this season, with players such as Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets on the decline. However, Leo Messi is still the best player on the planet, and no one else in the league can match them in terms of talent. They look like a strong favorite to three-peat as champions.

2. Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid has had an uneven start to the season, but they find themselves tied with eternal rivals Barcelona at the top of the league. Los Blancos still have plenty of talent, but are they still missing Ronaldo in year two without him?

In any case, if Zidane can get the best out of an unhappy Gareth Bale down the stretch and get some creativity out of James Rodriguez, it would be a huge help for their chances to win the title. A date at the Camp Nou against Barcelona looms large in the middle of December. If Los Blancos can win, they’ll become prohibitive title favorites.

3. Atletico Madrid

Diego Simeone’s side started the season strong, winning four of their first six games. However, their form has taken a dip lately, as they have managed only two wins and six draws in their last eight contests.

The Colchoneros are as solid defensively as ever, having only allowed 9 goals through their first 14 games. However, their offense has left a lot to be desired. An injured Diego Costa has been ineffective, the young wunderkid Joao Felix has been inconsistent, and only Alvaro Morata has been reliable upfront. Can El Cholo’s side grow up fast and challenge for the title?

4. The Field

Outside of the top three, Sevilla looks to be the best dark horse candidate for the title. Julen Lopetegui’s team finds itself in third place, but they have struggled against the top 3 (1 draw, 2 losses).

Real Sociedad and Athletic Club are currently hanging around in European positions and could even compete for a Champions League place. Sociedad’s defense and Athletic’s attack look too weak, respectively, for a title run though.