La Liga, Week 20: The second half of the season begins

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

There's no time for rest as the second half of the La Liga season kicks off this week.

At the halfway point of the 2013/14 season we still have a legitimate three team title race, a solid race for fourth place and Europa League spot and relatively tight relegation battle. Not too shabby.

Barcelona and Atlético Madrid are tied on points at the top of the table but the Blaugrana get the edge for now on goal differential. Their much anticipated match-up last week failed to separate them and only really allowed Real Madrid to close the gap between them and the leaders to three points. All three teams are in action this round and all three face winnable games on paper.

Essentially we're waiting for someone to flinch at this point and it stands to reason that it'll happen in one of these games when we're least expecting it.

Athletic Bilbao will look to remain in fourth place as they face Rayo Vallecano, who themselves are scrambling to escape the relegation zone. Chasers Villarreal host Almeria while Real Sociedad travel to Getafe.

Real Betis -- who played Madrid -- are in serious trouble of digging themselves a hole they may not be able to escape. 11 points from 19 games is bad, the seven point gap to safety that has created is even worse. Fortunately for Betis there's still time to turn things around, but they're definitely going to have their work cut out for them.

Here's the full schedule for round 20 in Spain.

Friday, January 17

Málaga vs. Valencia | 9:00 p.m. ET, 3:00 p.m. CEST

Saturday, January 18

Real Betis vs. Real Madrid | 4:00 p.m. ET, 10:00 a.m. CEST

Elche vs. Rayo Vallecano | 6:00 p.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. CEST

Granada vs. Osasuna | 8:00 p.m. ET, 2:00 p.m. CEST

Espanyol vs. Celta Vigo | 10:00 p.m. ET, 4:00 p.m. CEST

Sunday, January 19

Getafe vs. Real Sociedad | 12:00 p.m. ET, 6:00 a.m. CEST

Villarreal vs. Almeria | 5:00 p.m. ET, 11:00 a.m. CEST

Levante vs. Barcelona | 7:00 p.m. ET, 1:00 p.m. CEST

Atlético Madrid vs. Sevilla | 9:00 p.m. ET, 3:00 p.m. CEST

Monday, January 20

Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Valladolid | 10:00 p.m. ET, 4:00 p.m. CEST

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