Ancelotti's side cling on to a 1-0 lead while Michel's side played the big game of the season against Atlético de Madrid

Real Madrid are winter champions alongside a Girona side who will fight for the title

Vinicius Jr. del Real Madrid - PHOTO/Guillermo Martínez/NurPhoto/NurPhoto vía AFP
Vinicius Jr. of Real Madrid - Foto por Guillermo Martínez / NurPhoto / NurPhoto vía AFP

The first half of the Spanish league season is coming to an end and Real Madrid are holding on to top spot. With 46 goals scored and only 11 conceded, Carlo Ancelotti's side have managed to overcome three long-term absentees in the form of Courtois, Militao and Alaba. With Barça at their lowest sporting ebb since Xavi's arrival and Atlético Madrid unable to keep up the pace, the 3-0 win at Montilivi is now a vitally important result.   

Michel's Girona and Ranieri's Leicester. The comparison is necessary after 19 league games and the balance is 46 goals scored and 25 conceded, with 15 wins, three draws and only one defeat against Madrid. Champion's numbers to get rid of the question of whether they will be able to hold on, because they have already shown that they are not the Sevilla or Real Sociedad of recent years who have not been able to stay up.

Leicester's numbers are worse than those of Girona. At the end of the first round, the English team was second behind Arsenal, with 11 games won, six drawn and two lost for a total of 39 points. They scored 37 goals for and 25 against. At the end of that 2016 Premiership, historic Leicester were first with a 10-point lead over Arsenal.   

Real Madrid will have a slightly tougher time against Girona, although Ancelotti's side have every excuse for not having a good season. Without a great centre-forward, with Lunin in goal ahead of Kepa and with no intention of signing a centre-back after injuries, Los Blancos have an uncomfortable January with a Copa del Rey game against Arandina and then the Arabian Super Cup against Atlético Madrid in the semi-finals and a hypothetical final against Barça if Xavi's side can beat Osasuna.   

Girona-Atletico Madrid was the big game of the season. Much better than the cold Clasico in Montjuic that Real Madrid won thanks to Bellingham's goals. In this case, Michel's side laid siege to Atlético who defended well and managed to score three goals thanks to Morata. But only a striker in a state of vital boredom can be capable of such a feat and keep his team off the scoresheet. For many fans it reminded them of the 5-4 win over Salamanca at the Helmántico where Vieri scored four goals that were useless and ended up leaving the Madrid team.  

Daley Blind celebra un gol durante el partido entre el Girona FC y el Club Atlético de Madrid de la semana 19 de LaLiga EA Sports - Foto de Urbanandsport / NurPhoto / NurPhoto vía AFP
Daley Blind celebrates a goal during the match between Girona FC and Club Atlético de Madrid in LaLiga EA Sports Week 19 - Foto de Urbanandsport / NurPhoto / NurPhoto vía AFP

The fight for the league title will be fierce, but it will again be between two teams because Atlético are already 10 points behind the leaders and Barça could be seven points behind at the end of the first half of the season. Huge credit to Michel and Ancelotti, who have very different goals and a very different squad.   

The Whites have their sights set on 2024 with the definitive opening of the new Bernabéu, the Superliga and, who knows, the definitive arrival of Mbappé. A small squad with less quality than that of other European giants, but if they are united and united, they can go far in the Champions League and win the league, with the exception of Girona, who are on a roll and want to make history.