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01.05.2009 10:40

Half a year at the top

Jesús Carrillo

This Friday Pep Guardiola’s side can celebrate spending half a year at the top of La Liga. They made it to first place on November 1, 2008, following a 4-1 win at La Rosaleda in game nine, and thereby replaced Valencia as leaders.

Barça have played 24 games since then, and have led the table all the way. In six months they have won 19 games, drawn 3 and lost just 2.


ALN01D03.008.jpgBarça had to make up for a slow start, getting just one of the first six points on offer. But a win at the Molinón in a game that was almost called off because of the rain changed things dramatically, and by the time they had beaten Malaga, the Catalans had climbed to the very top of the pile. Xavi, twice, Messi and Weligton scored the goals that pushed Valencia down to second.

Three pursuers

Villarreal, Valencia and Madrid have been Barcelona’s closest rivals this season. From game 9 to 18, the two sides from the region of Valencia continually exchanged the second position, but just before the season reached its half-way stage Real Madrid moved to second following a win at the ONO, 3-0 against Mallorca. But they were still a massive 12 points adrift of Barcelona.

Pichichi and Zamora

QM3D1466.jpgBarça have also done well in the individual stakes. Samuel Eto’o is the leading goalscorer in the league, and Víctor Valdés is on course for the ‘Ricardo Zamora’ for being the goalkeeper with the best record. And Barça is also the team that has scored the most goals, won the most games and conceded the fewest.
Half a year at the top
Champions League and Copa del Rey
Barça have also got it right in Europe, making it through the Champions League group stages and then overcoming Olympique Lyon and Bayern Munich. In the cup they have reached the final without losing a game, eliminating Benidorm, Atlético Madrid, Espanyol and Mallorca. Barça is also the highest scoring team in those two competitions.

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