x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Spain's Primera Liga table is ridiculously brilliant

The slow race to decide third to sixth places resemble a flock of sheep who are constantly kept in check.

Valencia's Sofiane Feghouli, left, vies for the ball from Sevilla's Fernando Navarro.
Valencia's Sofiane Feghouli, left, vies for the ball from Sevilla's Fernando Navarro.

There are two leagues in Spain, the fast race to decide first and second between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and the slow race for third to sixth, the other European slots.

The latter resembles a flock of sheep who are constantly kept in check. If one has the audacity to make run for it and string a few wins together, they are soon dragged back to the flock.

Valencia were the leaders of the slow race, but just as they looked like they would break free, they have lost the last two matches.

Their neighbours Levante moved back into fourth on Sunday after winning for the first time in 10 weeks. The league table is so skewed that only in Spain is a team capable of going 10 weeks without a win and still being in a Champions League spot, a team who have conceded more goals than they have scored.

It is ridiculous - or brilliant - depending on your view.

Ridiculous because teams are genuinely incapable of stringing a winning run together. If one looks like doing so, they mess up and lose to a team at the bottom, like Espanyol who were beaten at home by rock bottom Zaragoza.

Brilliant because just eights points separate Levante in fourth and Villarreal in 17th. Seven points, 15 teams.

In England, the gap between fourth and 17th is 25 points, in France it is 20, Germany 24 and Italy 18. In Spain, the teams huddle together for comfort knowing that their season is kept interesting until the end because they have equal chances of qualifying for Europe … or plummeting into the second division.