Atlético Madrid and Valencia combined to end several long streaks in La Liga

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

In the span of two days in Spain three dominating streaks came to an end while something that hasn't happened in 18 years finally did.

Going in to this round of games on La Liga, there was a real chance for a little bit of a shake-up at the top. Instead of Barca opening a bit of a gap, as many expected, the team that had dominated the league for over a year and a half suddenly found themselves in second while another topped the table for the first time in 18 years.

That wasn't the only streak broken this match week in Spain but it was definitely the longest. Let's take a look at the streaks than came to end this weekend.

18 Years

Let us begin by congratulating Diego Simeone and Atlético Madrid. Thanks to their 4-0 win over Real Sociedad they now lead La Liga for the first time since 1996. That's also the last time Los Colchoneros won a league title. Simeone was a key part of that team, starting in the midfield and scoring 12 goals, second only to forward Lyuboslav Penev.

A great deal can happen over 18 years. Back in 1996 the English Premier League was five years old. It was the last time River Plate won the Copa Libertadores and the year that Major League Soccer debuted, two years after the US hosted the World Cup.

88 Rounds

Atléti also breaks a streak of 88 rounds of games in which either Barca or Real Madrid have been in first place in La Liga. It's a run that dates back to late October 2011 when Levante(!) spent two rounds at the top of the table. In that 2011-12 season, five different teams spent at last one round in first place (Valencia and Real Betis were the other two).

59 Rounds

Barcelona are in second place, three points behind Atléti. It's certainly not the end of the tile race but it is a big deal in terms of Spanish football. For the first time in 59 rounds of games --  a run dating back to May 12, 2012 when Real Madrid closed out the 2011-12 season as champions -- Barcelona are not at the top of the La Liga table.

That's an astounding run of dominance, especially considering all the distractions that Barca went through last season including tha absence of their head coach Tito Vilanova for cancer treatments and a humiliating defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

25 games

Valencia's 3-2 win at the Camp Nou on Saturday was the first time in 25 games that Barcelona have failed to win at home in a league match. It's an impressive run that dates back to a 2-2 draw against Real Madrid on October 7th, 2012. The last time Barca actually lost at home in league play before Saturday was on April 21st, 2012 when Real Madrid earned a 2-1 victory. The last team other than Real Madrid to beat Barca at the Camp Nou in a league match was Hércules who won 2-0 on September 11, 2010.

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