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The champions' clean sheet against Malaga on Sunday ensures the leaders now have the tightest back line in the Primera Division

By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer

Barcelona’s 3-0 win at home to Malaga on Sunday saw the Catalans return to the top of La Liga, but also means the Blaugrana now boast La Liga’s strongest defence.

Barca had let in 13 goals in their opening 20 league games, one more than second-placed Atletico Madrid, but Diego Simeone’s side conceded twice in a 4-2 win at Rayo Vallecano earlier on Sunday.

The champions’ clean sheet in the Camp Nou clash against Malaga therefore means the current league leaders now also have the tightest back line in the Primera Division.

That is great news for coach Gerardo Martino and the club in general, especially after all of the side’s defensive problems in 2012-13.

BARCA DEFENCE ON TOP

  P W D L F A Pts
Barcelona 21 17 3 1 57 13 54
Atletico Madrid
21 17 3 1 52 14 54
Real Madrid 21 17 2 2 60 21 53

Barca were expected to sign a centre-back in the summer, but Martino opted to stick with what he had and has been boosted by the emergence of Marc Bartra and the return of captain Carles Puyol.

A recent renaissance for Gerard Pique (who also opened the scoring on Sunday) and the fantastic form of goalkeeper Valdes, who kept his 10th clean sheet of the campaign in the shut-out, has also helped them become difficult to break down.

After 21 rounds of La Liga, Barca have conceded 13, Atletico 14 and Madrid 21.

However, Carlo Ancelotti’s side (who have gone seven matches without conceding this year in all competitions to set a new club record) are the Primera Division’s highest scorers, with 60 goals – three more than Tata’s team and eight more than Simeone’s side.

Barca, with 54 points, lead La Liga on goal difference from Atletico, with Madrid only one point behind.

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