Why has Barcelona's foot eased off the pedal in La Liga's revived title race?

Ben Lyttleton chats European football with Off The Ball

Lionel Messi, Barcelona

Barcelona's Lionel Messi rues a missed opportunity on goal during their Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Real Sociedad, at Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian, northern Spain, Saturday, April 9, 2016. Barcelona lost the match 1-0. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

A couple of weeks ago, Barcelona looked odds-on to retain the La Liga title.

But now you can't be too sure. The late Clasico defeat to Real Madrid was followed up this weekend by a loss at Real Sociedad, which has not been a happy hunting ground for Barca in the last decade.

Now, Atletico Madrid are just three points behind with six games to go, and Real ominously just a further point in arrears.

"We have a title race now in Spain. It's somewhat surprising that Barcelona have only picked up one point out of their last nine and I think they're paying the price for Luis Enrique's reluctance to rotate," said Off The Ball's European football analyst Ben Lyttleton.

"Arda Turan was not available until January but he's hardly played at all. They are beginning to look a little bit tired. Busquets is looking tired, Alba is looking tired. They rested Iniesta and Rakitic but at the weekend, they ended up coming on and Suarez was suspended and he has become the main man with the goals for Barcelona at this point in the season, although earlier in the season, each of Neymar, Messi had taken it in turns to be the main guys."

But on the plus side, Ben says Barca's run-in to the final stretch of the La Liga season is easier than that faced by Atletico and Real.