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Barcelona lead LaLiga on goal difference from El Clásico rivals Real Madrid

Barcelona have moved above Real Madrid in LaLiga due to their superior goal difference - +18 compared to +11

Roddy Cons
0-1. Robert Lewandowski celebra el primer gol.

For the first time in 836 days, Barcelona are top of LaLiga.

A slender victory over Real Mallorca came on Saturday thanks to yet another goal by Polish attacker Robert Lewandowski, who has now netted in six consecutive league matches. The win in Palma means Xavi Hernández’s side have picked up 19 points in their first seven games, the same total as arch-rivals Real Madrid, who surprisingly slipped up on Sunday night in a home draw against Osasuna.

Six wins and a draw in LaLiga for both Barcelona and Real Madrid

Both clubs have won six and drawn once in LaLiga this season, with Barça’s opening day stalemate against Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou followed by six consecutive triumphs. But it is the Catalans who top the table as things stand, courtesy of a superior goal difference by comparison to the men from the capital.

After drawing a blank against Rayo and before their 1-0 weekend win at Son Moix, Barcelona rattled in 18 goals in their five league matches, with an impressive 4-1 victory at Real Sociedad preceding 4-0 wins against Real Valladolid and Cádiz and 3-0 triumphs over Elche and Sevilla. An outstanding defensive record, with just one goal conceded – against La Real – has allowed them to amass a +18 goal difference, seven better than Real Madrid.

Los Blancos have also enjoyed a couple of convincing victories, defeating both Celta Vigo and Mallorca by a 4-1 scoreline, but three of their six wins have come by the odd goal. Carlo Ancelotti has made his side a potent attacking force in the early part of the season – they have scored 18 times, just once fewer than Barça – but Madrid have been rather less assured at the back, having failed to keep a clean sheet so far, conceding once in every game.

Goal difference the deciding factor between Barcelona and Real Madrid…for now

So, Barcelona are top due to their superior goal difference, although goal difference is not always the deciding factor in LaLiga when teams have the same number of points.

When two or more clubs are level on the same number of points, the tie breaker rules are:

If the clubs involved have played each other twice:
If the tie is between two clubs, the tie is broken using the head-to-head goal difference for those clubs (away goals not counted)
If the tie is between more than two clubs, the tie is broken using the games the clubs have played against each other:
A) head-to-head points
B) head-to-head goal difference
If the clubs involved haven’t played each other twice or the tie hasn’t been broken by the rules above, it is broken using:
A) total goal difference
B) total goals scored
If clubs are still level, then the club which has accumulated the fewest Fair Play points will come out on top. Fair Play points are awarded as such:
Yellow card  - 1 point
Two yellow cards leading to a red card - 2 points
Straight red card - 3 points
Suspensions for coaches, club directors or other club personnel - 5 points
Fan misconduct – 5, 6 or 7 points, depending on severity
Stadium closure – 10 points

If penalties are rescinded by LaLiga, the points related to the penalty are removed from the club’s total.

If the tie has still not been broken, the clubs involved will contest a one-off match at a neutral venue.

El Clásico will be played at the Santiago Bernabéu on October 16
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El Clásico will be played at the Santiago Bernabéu on October 16Rodrigo JimenezEFE

Admittedly, a tie-break Clásico to decide the league title seems unlikely, however great a spectacle that might be. Now they have their noses in front, even if only just, Barcelona will be hoping to keep it that way between now and the end of the season. A trip to the Santiago Bernabèu on October 16 looks to be the next big test.


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