If you haven't been paying attention, there's a storm a-brewin' in Oklahoma City. Clearly, this team is done tanking, but are we underrating how capable this team is? One of the youngest teams in league history that plays hard with an unselfish and fluid brand of basketball. 10th in defensive rating. 14th in offensive rating. With less than a month...
Far-Fetched Friday: Barcelona Will Win La Liga Trophy
It seems like a foregone conclusion that Lionel Messi will be leaving Barcelona this summer. Would it not be nice to see him exit with one last league trophy? I think it would be, and it is why I am making this prediction that Barcelona will come back to win this season's La Liga trophy.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday, we look at the race for the La Liga trophy.
As things stand, Barcelona is in second place, five points behind Atletico Madrid, who also have a game in hand, which means that the gap at the top could potentially become eight points if Atletico manages to win their game in hand. And, were this two to three months ago, I would have said Barcelona has no shot. But the truth is, this currently Barcelona team looks nothing like the team that started the season. And that is thanks to Lionel Messi.
Barcelona has claimed 28 out of an available 30 league points so far in 2021. Ten league games, nine wins, and one draw. Messi has been behind that resurgence.
Messi currently leads the scoring charts with 19 goals in 23 games and has been on fire so far in 2021. Keep in mind that he only had seven league goals in 14 games to end 2020. That means so far this year, Messi has scored a ridiculous 12 goals in 9 league games. He looks like Messi again, meeting standards that only he can.
There is also the fact that Barcelona is about a week away from Champions League elimination, leaving them nothing more than the league.
And if the 3-0 second-leg comeback against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey semi-final is anything to go by, Barcelona is back to striking fear in the hearts of their Spanish opposition.
With all this said, the final reason I believe Barcelona can pull this off is that they have actually been by far the best team in La Liga this season, just extremely unlucky. Expected points, which measures how a game should have went based on the chances created and allowed, is highly in Barcelona's favor.
Expected points has Barcelona with 53 points in first place, five points above second place, and ten above Atletico Madrid in 5th place. Now it's not unheard of for a team to continue underperforming or overperforming their expected performance to close out a season. And we know that Simeone and Atletico Madrid are the masters of winning games that they have no business winning based on possession and chances created.
But something tells me things are starting to even out. Barcelona has claimed 28 out of the last 30 points, while Atletico Madrid has claimed 23 in that same period.
With 12 games to go, my prediction is that Barcelona will storm back and win the 2020-21 La Liga trophy.
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