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La Liga, Week 16: Intriguing battles shaping up as the winter break nears

Don't look now but another two-team title race is breaking out in La Liga, but it doesn't involve Real Madrid.

Denis Doyle

Don't let some boring old talking head or social media know-it-all try to tell you that La Liga isn't interesting. Sure it's top heavy, but that's not particularly uncommon in modern club football. Yes it's dominated by a handful of teams, again a common thing.

What's making La Liga intriguing this season is Atlético Madrid who thanks in large part to Diego Costa's monster season - 17 goals from 16 games -- are refusing to back down in the title race. What's developing is both a game of chicken between Atléti and Barca in terms who who will lose that is also leaving Real Madrid in the dust.

Athletic Bilbao, Villarreal and Real Sociedad are also lining up for a fantastic battle for European spots. Despite the Yellow Submarine's loss this week, they remain just two points behind Athletic Club for the final Champions League place. La Real have overcome a slow start and are creeping up behind both of those teams as well.

Down the dreaded bowls of the league table we got yet another reminder that Real Betis is just not that good thanks to a 5-1 loss against La Real. Despite over achieving in the Europa League, the Béticos simply cannot get things figured out in league play. Even changing their manager hasn't seemed to help matters.

Here's a full list of the result from week 16 in Spain.

Levante 2-1 Elche
Osasuna 2-2 Real Madrid | Full match report
Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Granada
Barcelona 2-1 Villarreal | Full match report
Malaga 1-0 Getafe
Almeria 0-0 Espanyol
Real Sociedad 5-1 Real Betis
Sevilla FC 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
Atletico Madrid 3-0 Valencia
Real Valladolid 3-0 Celta Vigo