Barcelona's title defence hasn't gone to plan.

The La Liga table of 2023: Atletico Madrid & Barcelona finish level…

Barcelona won the 2022-23 La Liga season, but were pushed hard by Atletico Madrid through the calendar year of 2023, with Real Madrid following closely behind.

The big surprise, though, has been the emergence of surprise package Girona in the Spanish top flight. An already impressive 2023 finished spectacularly with them sitting second in La Liga heading into 2024, surpassing everybody’s expectations.

We’re not looking at either season today, however. With 2023 out of the way and a new year ushered in, we’re taking a look back at the La Liga standings from the last calendar year in full to see how teams performed and stacked up over 12 months.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side have enjoyed a much more competitive 2023-24 thus far and sit top of the tree, but ultimately struggled to keep pace with both their local and Catalan rivals throughout the year, finishing 10 points behind La Blaugrana last season.

They finished third overall in 2023, despite conceding the fewest goals (33) of La Liga’s ‘big’ three sides.

Speaking of their two rivals, despite Barcelona clinching the title, they finished 2023 level on points with Diego Simeone’s Atletico side (88), but sit second in the table with Los Rojiblancos boasting a far more superior goal difference.

Atletico finishing level with Barcelona is a sign of Xavi’s side’s drop-off in 2023-24, sitting in fourth behind Atleti at the time of writing, while Girona chase Real in second place.

Managed by Míchel, Girona put together a quietly impressive 2022-23 season – their first in the top flight since 2019 – and managed a 10th place finish, but have made that look ordinary so far this time around with a vast improvement that is reflected in the 2023 rankings, sitting fourth for the year with 77 points from their 41 games played.

Time will tell if Girona’s shrewdly assembled and exceptionally well-drilled side can maintain their title push, but sitting level on points with Real after 18 games is certainly a brilliant indicator of their credentials.

Lower down the 2023 table, Sevilla’s struggles are reflected. Despite winning the Europa League – again – Sevilla endured a torrid domestic campaign, clawing back to a 12th-placed finish, but have again struggled to get going so far this season and finished the year with a goal difference of zero.

To make things fair, we’ve excluded the three sides that were promoted ahead of the 2023-24 season and the three who were relegated to the second tier.

Here’s how the 2023 La Liga table finished up looking, as we move into 2024:

1. Atletico Madrid – 88 pts, GD +45 (played 41)
2. Barcelona – 88 pts, GD +35 (played 41)
3. Real Madrid – 85 pts, GD +46 (played 41)
4. Girona – 77 pts, GD +26 (played 41)
5. Real Sociedad – 73 pts, GD +23 (played 41)
6. Real Betis – 63 pts, GD +2 (played 41)
7. Athletic Club – 61 pts, GD +9 (played 41)
8. Villarreal – 59 pts, GD +4 (played 41)
9. Sevilla – 53 pts, GD 0 (played 41)
10. Getafe – 51 pts, GD -4 (played 41)
11. RCD Mallorca – 49 pts, GD -9 (played 41)
12. Osasuna – 49 pts, GD -13 (played 41)
13. Valencia – 46 pts, GD -12 (played 41)
14. Rayo Vallecano – 46 pts, GD -20 (played 41)
15. Cadiz – 45 pts, GD -16 (played 41)
16. Celta Vigo – 43 pts, GD -3 (played 41)
17. Almeria – 29 pts, GD -33 (played 41)

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