Runaway Train – Unbeaten Barcelona on course to obliterate record point haul

(Getty)

(Getty)

It was an astounding achievement. Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid lost only twice in La Liga last season and claimed an unprecedented 32 victories on their way to winning the Primera Division with a historical high of 100 points. No team had ever reached three figures before in Spain’s domestic competition, but just eight months on, Barcelona seem set not only to beat their rival’s record – they look likely to obliterate it.

Tito Vilanova’s team turned in another professional performance on Sunday, beating Malaga 3-1 at La Rosaleda to open up a healthy 11-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid, with Mourinho’s men 18 adrift in third spot after 19 rounds of matches in the Primera Division. At the league’s halfway stage, Barca have won 18, drawn one and lost none. In total, only two of 57 points have been dropped – in the 2-2 draw at home to Madrid back in early October.

Mourinho seemed sure his side would kick on from last season’s success, but the Portuguese has seen his team toil in 2012-13, blighted by problems on and off the pitch. And following Pep’s parting, the rivalry with Barca has dwindled, along with his team’s intensity. Performances have dropped for the champions in the current campaign, while rivals appear more confident of nullifying what has often been a predictable pattern of play this term from the capital club.

The opposite is true of Barca. Opposing teams seem scared when facing the Catalans and many appear to have lost the game mentally before a ball has even been kicked. Others only spark into life when it is already too late, such as Mallorca and Deportivo La Coruna, both of whom made sterling fightbacks before being outgunned in high-scoring encounters this term. On Sunday night, meanwhile, Malaga gave Tito’s team a good game, but also gifted the first two goals with some dreadful defending. If there is one team which does not need such help, it is Barcelona.

Tough tests await in the Copa del Rey – with a possible semi-final meeting with Madrid – the Champions League and La Liga, too. Time, trophies and how well they can perform in the very biggest games will determine how this Barca bloc can be perceived alongside Guardiola’s great side, but winning La Liga with a record points total would surely be the best possible start. They are only halfway there, but so far, so very good.

Read Ben Hayward’s entire article here on goal.com

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