While FC Barcelona may have slumped to a shock 1-1 draw on their travels to Levante on Sunday, the Blaugrana retained control of La Liga courtesy of Ivan Rakitic's second-half equaliser against Atletico Madrid. The draws leave Barcelona and Atletico tied on 51 points, with Real Madrid just one point removed in third place after their impressive 5-0 win over Real Betis on Saturday.
So, while Barça may not have relinquished control at the top, they have opened up the title race for Carlo Ancelotti's side, arguably a bigger threat than Diego Simeone's Atleti.
Once again, Barcelona struggled last night against a resilient defense, and conceded a set-piece goal to give up two points in a match they were expected to win rather comfortably. Was it just a blip? Would the Blaugrana have won on another night? Or is there an underlying problem?
Gerardo Martino's somewhat bewildering decisions at 1-1 suggest that there may be a problem -- although Barcelona have ready made solutions in Andres Iniesta and Neymar. It isn't Martino's fault that the pair are injured after all. With the duo back in the team, maybe Barcelona are a little more direct, a little more creative.
A little more potent.
Of course, this is a disappointing result but there's no reason to go overboard either, especially after Atletico Madrid drew at home to Sevilla. As long as Barça bounce back with a win next weekend, I'd suggest that all is well in Catalunya. The trouble will only begin if Malaga can secure a result at the Camp Nou.