With Real Madrid just two points back, that means the Spanish ‘Big Three’ are now just three points apart as the teams enter the home stretch of the season.
Atletico had enjoyed a comfortable lead at the top of La Liga after a blazing start to the season, while Barcelona and Real struggled to find form in the opening weeks. However, the pressure appears to be on Diego Simeone’s side, who have now won just two of their last five La Liga games.
Barcelona, on the other hand, are on a meteoric run and haven’t tasted defeat domestically since early December, while Zinedine Zidane’s Real have lost just once since late November.
While there was an element of good fortune in Dembele’s goal – the ball falling nicely after bouncing between two heads in the penalty area – it was nothing less than Barcelona deserved for their superiority throughout. 90 minutes.
Valladolid certainly looked menacing at times, even hitting the crossbar in the first half, but a 79th-minute red card for Oscar Plano forced the team to stay on the back foot for the remainder of the game.
It was the perfect start to a potentially defining fortnight for Barcelona, with El Clasico on Saturday and the 2021 Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao the following weekend.
After a difficult start to the season – in which head coach Ronald Koeman risked losing his job after just a few weeks – Barcelona now have their eyes on the domestic double.
Of course, huge questions linger like a dark cloud over Barca; Captain Lionel Messi could still leave at the end of the season and the club continue to face historic debt levels, but recent performances coupled with the emergence of young talent have given some hope for the future.