After Real Madrid played a near perfect second half to win an emotional El Clásico against Barcelona a week ago, it felt like a championship-level performance that swung the race for the La Liga title for good.
Seven days later, Real Madrid are in second place again thanks to a loss to Real Betis, a team that hadn't won a game since December. That means Barça are back on top, but the defending champions had to fight with everything they had to beat Real Sociedad 1-0 thanks to a penalty given by VAR in the 80th minute.
It's safe to ask: Who wants to win La Liga this season? The answer is simple: both teams do, but they are so inconsistent that they'll keep getting in their own way until the season ends and–likely through conveniently timed performances–one of them emerges with more points than the other.
Barça's victory on Saturday was another example of a team that simply wins at home no matter what, but the Blaugrana have been unable to replicate that form on the road. New coach Quique Setién hasn't cracked the puzzle to their away game problems as of yet, and hasn't been privy to the new manager bounce so common after a coaching change. The never-ending injuries to a very small squad also don't help, and unless Lionel Messi shines every single week it's hard to see which teammate is going to step up, particularly away from Camp Nou.
If Barça are good at home and bad away, Real Madrid's inconsistencies come on a game-by-game basis regardless of setting–you just don't know which Madrid team you're going to get. Zinedine Zidane is constantly changing players and tactics in hopes of finding the ideal combination. He hasn't struck gold yet, and until he does, Madrid will continue to drop unnecessary points.
This promises to be one of the best championship races in Spanish football history, but it's not because we're watching two of the best Spanish teams of all time. It's because we aren't.