The defending champions reached their 16th consecutive victory establishing a new record in La Liga, and pulverizing the 15 win streak achieved by Real Madrid in the 1960/61 season.
The leaders knew that they couldn’t rely on the seven point advantage that they had over Real Madrid, and on their game on Saturday against Atletico de Madrid they continued with the same demolishing pace that they had exhibited throughout the season. In just 30 minutes Barcelona had the game resolved to their favor, thanks to two goals from their top scorer Lionel Messi, who had in the Colchoneros one of his favorite victims, as he had scored 8 goals in 9 games against them prior to this match.
In the second half and with 11 minutes to go before the end, Messi added one more goal to his personal account, reaching his 24th goal of the season, and improving his record against Atletico de Madrid to 11 goals in 10 games. The score wasn’t going to suffer more changes and Barcelona was going complete a 16-win streak in the Liga, which had began in match day 7 with a 2-1 home win against Valencia.
With their victory Barcelona also added more pressure to their closest contender, Real Madrid, that was playing against Real Sociedad on Sunday. The white team was now 10 points away from the leaders and knew that they couldn’t afford to lose more points if they wanted to keep alive their chances of clinching the title. Playing at home and against the No. 9 team in the standings didn’t give reasons to believe that the Real Sociedad was going to be an obstacle for them, something that was confirmed in the first half with one goal from Kaka and two from Cristiano Ronaldo.
With their task done Real Madrid dedicated the second half to control the result, and only suffered one mishap due to a misfortunate play from Alvaro Arbeloa in minute 72 that concluded with him scoring an own goal. But there was going to be time for the team to react, and the recently signed Emmanuel Adebayor scored the definite 4-1 in minute 89. With this victory Real Madrid reached 54 points and kept the distance from Barcelona down to 7 points.
In the fight for the third spot Valencia was benefited from the away victory by 0-1 from Levante against Villareal. This result added to their 2-0 home win against Hercules allowed Valencia to reduce the distance against Virrareal to only one point. Now the Yellow Submarine has 45 points and the Che team has 44.
Another team that was also benefited from their rival’s defeat was Athletic that with Espanyol’s 2-3 road loss against Almeria, along with their 3-0 home victory against Sporting took the fifth place away from them. Athletic now has 38 points over 37 from Espanyol.
And for the battle against relegation the only team that wasn’t able to make the best from match day 22 was Malaga, whose tie with no goals against Sevilla sent them to the last place in the standings. Now Malaga has 19 points, while Almeria and Levante reached 20 and 21 points respectively thanks to their victories against Espanyol and Virrareal.
Match day 23 will be disputed between February 12-14, and the most appealing game will be played by Espanyol and Real Madrid. Despite being their city rivals, Barcelona will sheer for Espanyol to win this game on Sunday, while they go ahead and visit Sporting on Saturday after their 17th consecutive victory of the season.