FC Barcelona took a big step towards clinching La Liga with a hardworking 1-0 victory over Atlético Madrid. Many pundits said this could have been the toughest match left on the calendar, and with only eight matches left and an 11 point lead, Barcelona are the absolute favorites to win the crown.
However, nothing is assured, and in fact, the Catalans had stumbled in their past few outings. Some people were saying there was a good chance that Xavi’s men could “bottle it.” It’s still possible, although now there are realistic scenarios on the horizon for winning the title once more.
Assuming Real Madrid win every single remaining match, Barcelona can afford a maximum of three losses while still winning the title. That means that Barcelona could clinch the championship at the earliest by winning the next five matches, with the last one being against Real Sociedad at Camp Nou.
Barça could also win La Liga with four wins and two draws, for a total of 14 points. Remember, Real Madrid can win a maximum of 24 points, and Barcelona are 11 points ahead. That means they need to gain a minimum of 10 points less over the course of the next eight matches to stay ahead, as they do not own the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Of course, it’s entirely plausible that Madrid do not win 24/24 points. Every point they fail to gain is one less point Barcelona needs to secure the title. And once you get into those scenarios, you have to account for the fact that Atlético and even Real Sociedad are still mathematically able to challenge for the title. That gets even more unlikely, though.
For now, Barcelona should focus on the simplest route - win your next five games.