A supercomputer has predicted the final standings for this year’s La Liga and it is bad news for Barcelona, who look set to miss out on a top four finish.
It is forecast that the Blaugrana will finish a whopping 18 points off their El Clasico rivals Real Madrid, who are predicted to regain their title by finishing five points clear of current champions Atletico Madrid.
Barca’s nightmare start to the campaign is not predicted to improve any time soon, with the club on course for a sixth-placed finish which would leave them as close to the lower half of the standings than a top four place.
Such a conclusion would be a disaster for the Catalan giants, whose bare minimum of expectations is to secure a top four finish and Champions League football which guarantees a vital income stream.
Barca have not finished outside of the top three positions in Spain’s top flight since their disastrous 2002/03 campaign under Louis Van Gaal.
It is projected that Ronald Koeman’s side will finish well off the pace set by the two sides from the Spanish capital but will also fall behind other sides this campaign.
The supercomputer from Football Web Pages believes that Real Madrid will finish champions on 81 points, five points ahead of city rivals Atletico.
Sevilla are set to claim a top three slot on 72 points while Unai Emery’s Villarreal are projected to break into the top four – edging out Real Sociedad on goal difference.
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Barca are believed to be four points further back in what would be a disastrous campaign, but above Valencia on goal difference only and just two points clear of newly-promoted Rayo Vallecano.
Indeed, just six points are set to separate six teams from Barca in sixth spot to Real Betis, who are said to be on course for 11th .
It has been a torrid recent few weeks for the Catalan club, who were held to underwhelming draws at home to lowly Granada and at Cadiz.
Those results preceded their first league defeat of the campaign – a comprehensive two-goal defeat at Atletico Madrid, leaving Koeman’s side with just 12 points from their opening seven games.
Results have been even worse in Europe, where the club have lost their opening two Champions League matches for the first time in their history.
They followed up a three-goal home defeat against Bayern Munich – in which they failed to record a shot on target throughout the game – with another 3-0 goal defeat in Lisbon against Benfica.
Levante, Alaves and Getafe are predicted to be the three sides who will be relegated at the end of the season.