Barcelona join Real Madrid as Europe’s biggest bullies

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Watching a football side score four goals is like witnessing the run-a-ball hundred, or 50 individual points in the NBA. Those occasions stand out because, unlike most sports, football is a low-scoring game. Or at least it is for most teams.

Barcelona and Real Madrid have made high-scoring as common as the siesta in Spain this season. The latest bloodbath saw the Blaugrana handing out the shellacking. They hit eight past Deportivo’s helpless goalkeeper and, in doing so, joined their El Clasico rivals as Europe’s most ruthless playground bullies.

Unfortunately, the Calatan club’s octagonal display wasn’t even this season’s zenith. Real Madrid have bettered them by two and have also netted seven in a match and have had eight games scoring four or five times.

Although unable to match the double-figure haul, Barca aren’t outdone. To go along with their eight against Depor, they’ve scored six times in three separate matches, five in another two and four in a staggering six assignments.

The two sides now have 10 wins each by margins of four goals or more. That says plenty about the quality the pair can impose on an opponent in any one match. Quite simply, it’s dominance that isn’t replicated anywhere else on the continent.

For example, Paris Saint-Germain wrapped up the Ligue 1 title practically in mid-season this year. They currently lead the way by an extraordinary 30 points. Yet they’ve managed just five wins by four or more goals. That’s half the number Real and Barca have each.

In Italy, Juventus have sprinted away from the Serie A pack by winning 23 of their last 24 games. They’ve done it without beating a single team by a margin of five or better, which the El Clasico duo have done 10 times between them.

Bayern Munich, favourites for the Champions League and free-wheeling to another Bundesliga success have six four-goal-or-more triumphs, while Manchester City lead the way in the Premier League’s department with just five.

Interestingly enough, the top two sides on these shores, Leicester City and Tottenham, have a combined total of two wins with a four-goal margin.

Does that mean the Premier League really is the most entertaining league in the world? As the argument goes, no teams whack the opposition week in and week out and win so big, so often that it becomes dull.

Well the beauty of La Liga is that, for all their heavy-scoring brutality, the division’s two big hitters are separated by just a point. Sandwiched between them is Atletico Madrid, whose biggest margin of victory this term is four goals, which they’ve achieved just once.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.