Title Hopes and Winless Strokes | Case Of The Mondays
Who's having the worst #CaseOfTheMondays today? Here are the four contenders.
Finally, the opportunity had come again: for Barcelona to claim the top spot of La Liga. Real Madrid had drawn 1-1 with Atleti after a last-ditch Griezmann equalizer, dropping crucial points. Barcelona were playing 14th-place Malaga. A win would’ve taken them equal on points, but ahead on that sweet, sweet +60 goal difference.But then they lost! They actually lost. Barcelona, who had only conceded 26 goals prior, conceded two more to Malaga, scored none of their own despite one of the most lethal front line trios in the world, and lost 2-0. Neymar was also sent off, which will be a blow to Barcelona for two or three games to come — which will likely include El Clasico, Barcelona’s second league match from now. Every match from here to the end will be huge for the team, as the title race looks like it’ll be tight until the very end. And if Real Madrid win by just two points, this might be the game they look back on and rue.
Der Klassiker: one of the highest-quality league rivalry matches in the entire world. This iteration, however, looked far more lopsided than that.In some ways, it was always going to be; Bayern are a whopping 18 points ahead of 4th-place Dortmund. But Bayern were coming off a 1-0 midweek loss to Hoffenheim, so an “upset” of sorts seemed very possible. Instead, Bayern ran rampant and smashed Dortmund 4-1. The loss will be a hit to Dortmund’s ego as they make a final push for an automatic Champions League spot, especially as a win would’ve taken them over Hoffenheim — who lost at the weekend as well — into third. Instead, they will spend another week in a Champions League playoff spot. It especially won’t be the momentum they want to take into tomorrow’s Champions League first leg against Monaco, who are currently first in Ligue 1 — yes, ahead of PSG. But perhaps Dortmund will continue on a Leicester-like story, dominating in Europe while (at least relatively) struggling domestically.
PHILLY UNION & MONTREAL IMPACT
MLS’ Eastern Conference often comes under scrutiny for how its quality compares to the West, and this season hasn’t done much to dispel that idea. After five games, only two teams remain winless across the entire league: the Philadelphia Union and the Montreal Impact. Montreal has 3 draws and 2 losses, while Philly has 2 draws and 3 losses.Montreal’s next game is against Atlanta United, and although Montreal will be at home, it is a tough task against a team that does nothing but score; Atlanta has the joint-highest goal difference so far across the entire league at +8. NYCFC’s slippery attack will also pose a threat to Philly, who have a -4 goal difference, but the fact that NYCFC will have lost some momentum coming off this past weekend’s loss to D.C. United might give the Union a little boost.These two teams might have to keep waiting for that first three points of the season. Luckily, there’s plenty more games to go.
With only 5 weeks left to go in the season, the race for the Championship title is heating up.Brighton’s win over QPR on Friday meant that they claimed the top spot ahead of Newcastle’s game away at Sheffield Wednesday the following day. A win meant the Toon could leapfrog back in front by a single point. But they couldn’t pull it off; they lost 2-1.But since it is the top 2 teams — rather than just the 1st place team — who are automatically promoted, and with third-place Huddersfield Town still 10 points back, it doesn’t seem like defeat is causing too much panic; one Newcastle fan says it simply “delays the inevitable .”But it’s got to sting somewhat, as a win meant that Newcastle could have secured promotion on Friday at home against Leeds.On top of that, Dwight Gayle, the club’s top scorer, might have suffered another bad hamstring injury. If this is the case, they’re lucky he soon has the whole summer to recover.