Gerard Pique said La Liga's title race is Real Madrid's to lose after Barcelona were held to a goalless draw against Sevilla on Friday. Barca's first slip-up since returning from the three-month hiatus hands Madrid the chance to regain top spot this weekend.
"Seeing what we've done in the last two rounds, it's going to be very difficult to win this league," said a despondent Pique afterwards. "From what I've seen, it's very hard to see Real Madrid dropping points."
Sevilla, in third, and Valencia, in eighth, always looked capable of shifting the dynamic at the top of the table, with Madrid capitalising to climb back to the summit for the first time since they beat Barcelona on March 1.
Asked about Pique's analysis, Barcelona coach Quique Setien said: "I think it comes from frustration. I am optimistic. I think it will be tough for anyone to take maximum points."