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It's game on!

Fabián Orellana celebrates scoring Valencia’s second and winning goal against Real Madrid.
Fabián Orellana celebrates scoring Valencia’s second and winning goal against Real Madrid. / EFE
  • Real Madrid's slip-up at Valencia on Wednesday night has breathed new life into the title race

There's a great phrase in Spain to describe the last few footballing days: "¡Hay liga!". In other words, "Game on!"

This could well be a decisive week in deciding where the title ends up. It was almost the last rites of the Catalans' claims as Real Madrid aimed to open up a four-point lead on their rivals, but their shock 2-1 defeat to Valencia on Wednesday changed all that.

Zinedine Zidane had planned carefully for the trip to Valencia, a game re-arranged from December when his Real Madrid were away claiming the Club World Cup title. He diluted his team for the weekend so that he could take his full force to a sell-out Mestalla.

What he hadn't catered for was Valencia, Europe's most underachieving team, suddenly over-achieving. Valencia came out all guns blazing and they led by two goals within the first nine minutes. On this occasion, Ronaldo was unable to emulate Messi and single-handedly haul his team back into the match as the Argentinean had done against Leganés.

The vultures accompanied the tiny team from the suburbs on their first ever visit to the Camp Nou. It did appear that they would have footballing flesh to pick at as the side, without a win in a dozen games, looked to be taking the unexpected souvenir of a point from their first visit to Europe's largest stadium.

Step forward Lionel Messi, a blasted penalty winner in the 90th minute was as dramatic as it gets. He led no celebrations as it wasn't a victory to celebrate.

Real still have the advantage and they do still have a game in hand but the season suddenly has new life. Real Madrid have mental scars and Barcelona's scars are healing.

But let's be honest, Zidane's team are still favourites to take the title and on the balance of things, they should claim it. If last week had gone according to plan, I would have expected it to be wrapped up after the Clásico in late April.

Now there are factors that could mitigate against their undisputed claim. If Barcelona can't turn around a four-goal difference against PSG in the Champions League, their fixture list suddenly becomes less cluttered and Luis Enrique doesn't have to balance the game time for his players.

Zidane's desk calendar will have hardly any space as they continue to progress in the Champions League and set the pace domestically. Exactly when they fit in the cancelled game with Celta takes on significance. It looks like the only spot is midweek in the final week of the season.

I can't show any bias in my job, I have to remain neutral. So naturally I'm hoping it does go right down to the very last week. And right now, there's a much stronger possibility of that happening.