Blogs & Opinion

Guillem Balague:

Most Popular Posts:

Recent Comments:

Cem Takaci on Making his mark

"Hi Guillem, all of this hype sourounding jose mourinho and the saying that the wave is swinging for real madrid right now. But once Jose leaves and it does seem that he will if not this... " View all comments

Siyavuya Zamxaka on Awesome foursome

"wonderfull column as always...I think Madrid have a better chance of winning the Cup game in all of these 4 games. This is because Mourinho can play any system and not worry about how ... " View all comments

La Liga title race: Barcelona have not trained enough, while Atletico Madrid are fearful

Guillem Balague - Guillem Balague Posted 12th May 2014 view comments

Each of La Liga's big three dropped points at the weekend.

Real Madrid's title chances are over after they lost to Celta Vigo but the two sides still in the running for the crown - Atletico Madrid and Barcelona - were unable to win either.

Atletico were held by Malaga, while Barca could only record a goalless stalemate with Elche, meaning the equation is simple ahead of a mouth-watering final game of the season at the Camp Nou.

Malaga celebrate putting a dent in Atletico Madrid's title tilt

Malaga celebrate putting a dent in Atletico Madrid's title tilt

If Atletico win or draw, they will become champions for the first time since 1996 but if Barcelona take all three points they will retain the title they won by 15 points in the 2012-13 campaign.

But why did Atleti, Barca and Real stutter in their most recent games? Guillem Balague answers that question and also gives his take on the controversial B team idea proposed by FA Chairman Greg Dyke...

Guillem answers your questions...

Got a question for Guillem? Then send it in using the feedback form below, and then look out for his answer next week...

Guillem, Why have the top three dropped so many points in the closing weeks of the season? It's the opposite of what usually happens. Do you think the pressure has got to all three teams? Mark

GUILLEM SAYS: I don't think Barcelona treated the Elche game as importantly as they should have and the feeling that Tata Martino has is that the team is physically and mentally exhausted. He thought it was more interesting to give them the Friday off and have two nights out with the squad and have an 'asado' - a barbecue - almost to say goodbye in midweek.

There was a lack of training and we saw in the game that the team lacked sharpness, as they have done in recent weeks. Therefore, you cannot trust them against Atletico Madrid. Even though Atletico seem to be fearful and have players unwilling to take risk, they look physically stronger as they showed by making chances against Malaga.

After the Valencia draw, Real Madrid thought La Liga was gone and concentrated all their efforts on the Champions League but if they had beaten Celta Vigo this weekend they could have won the title because their final opponents Espanyol are safe and have nothing to play for.

The other thing to say is that the Barcelona-Atletico match will be played at 5pm on Saturday - the same time as the FA Cup Final - and I find it amazing that the Spanish league, now that they are so worried about selling La Liga abroad, have not realised they are clashing with a game that is followed around the world - but it, once again, shows a lack of organisation in our league.

I am a massive La Liga fan and get a lot of stick from friends who believe there are only two teams and that the PL is much better but I honestly think that the PL is going downhill. If you look at the top three teams in Spain and England, it is clear who has the top players and top teams. More importantly if you look down to the top eight and then look to the Europa League, again it starts to paint a picture. Although I support Barca and we haven't had a great season, I would still say that it has been the best season in La Liga for years.

Can I also ask your thoughts on clubs in the PL to have a B team? Perhaps they play the same system as the first team as there is a massive jump from the reserves or youth teams to the first team. It seems to work in Spain as you only have to look at the young talent constantly coming through the ranks. What are your thoughts? Would a B team or perhaps new rules help the England team? Benjarno

GUILLEM SAYS: If Atletico win the League, that will mean three teams have won it since 2004 - the same as the Premier League with Manchester United, Man City and Chelsea - but the Europa League has shown the strength throughout the sides in Spain, with teams like Sevilla, Atletico and Espanyol appearing in the final. While we are struggling financially, we are getting better and people are tightening up their belts and paying their debts. There is quality coming through and the teams are still very competitive.

With regards to B teams, I am amazed by the negative response from the media and football world. There is a fear about losing the pyramid of English football but there are pyramids everywhere where B teams are included. I hear lots of worries about players going out on loan and then disappearing but that is because they do not play in a way that they would in the first team, so having a competitive B team will help.

Another problem with English football is that players at big clubs from 16-18 hardly compete because the reserve league is very poor and that's when they drop their interest and sometimes their level. B teams will help that as they will increase competitiveness and make everybody better - and you should never be afraid of being better. People seem reluctant to change but I think this will be good for English football.

Dear Guillem. If Barcelona win La Liga, Real Madrid win the Champions League and Atletico come second in both competitions which of the teams would you say has had the best season? Adam Burns

GUILLEM SAYS: Whatever happens with Barcelona, it will be seen as a bad season - but for Real Madrid, winning the Champions League will be the best success in a decade. As for Atletico, coming second will now be a failure having come so close.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Carragher

Carra: Top four in sight for Spurs

Spurs can make the top four, says Carra, depending on how seriously they take their European duties....

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Merse expects a losing start for Neil Warnock, but wins for Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd....

Ed Chamberlin

Chamberlin: Back Balotelli

Ed Chamberlin says the ‘box office’ Mario Balotelli can mark his Liverpool debut with a goal....

Latest News RSS feeds

Sky Sports Today

Follow the Champions League draw live with our Sky Sports Today blog as Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal learn their fate.

Live transfer updates

Crystal Palace sign Wilfried Zaha on loan, Bayern Munich confirm Xabi Alonso talks and Hull City close on Abel Hernandez.

Rooney named England captain

Wayne Rooney has been named England's new captain by manager Roy Hodgson.

Champions League draw on Sky

Find out how to follow the Champions League group stage draw across Sky Sports on Thursday.

Torres talks terms with Milan

Fernando Torres is discussing personal terms with AC Milan after Chelsea agreed to let the striker leave for Italy.


Analysis: Everton's signing of Samuel Eto'o can be significant on and off the pitch for Roberto Martinez's side

Analysis: Everton's signing of Samuel Eto'o can be significant on and off the pitch for Roberto Martinez's side

Saturday’s opponents Chelsea might have expected Everton’s Romelu Lukaku to come back to haunt them, but Jose Mourinho surely thought he’d seen the back of Samuel Eto’o. Instead he’s back in the Premier League and eyeing another challenge in his remarkable career.

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

When it comes to the art of signing players, few did it better than Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. In the latter’s book With Clough by Taylor he explained some of the science behind it in detailing how Nottingham Forest actively sought to buy players they perceived to have personal problems.

Champions League group draw: Follow it live on Sky Sports on Thursday

Champions League group draw: Follow it live on Sky Sports on Thursday

Sky Sports is the best place to follow Thursday’s draw for the UEFA Champions League group stage.