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Title race over? Barcelona jump further clear of Real Madrid on decisive day

Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola was delighted with their thumping victory over big spending Malaga yesterday. David Villa struck twice for the Catalans - with Andres Iniesta and Pedro also on the scoresheet - as Barca thrashed Malaga 4-1 to rack up a record points total at the league's halfway stage.

After 19 games, Barca have 52 points, beating their previous record of 50 - set in Guardiola's first season in charge.

"It's an impressive total," Guardiola said after the match.

"When we got 50 points two years ago, I didn't expect us to beat that, but these players have done it - they've been outstanding."

Barca saw title rivals Real Madrid slip up at bottom-of-the-table Almeria - they drew 1-1 - earlier in the evening, meaning the league leaders will start the second half of the championship with a four-point advantage over Jose Mourinho's side.

But that, says Guardiola, means little at this stage.

"It's a ridiculous distance at this stage of the competition," he said. "They (Madrid) dropped points today, but that could happen to us too.

"We could drop points at any ground; it could happen against Racing (Santander) next week or against Hercules.

"There is a long, long way to go and four points is nothing because Madrid are a very strong team."

 It's all kicking off again! Click here for the No1 coverage of Barcelona's winter market transfer news.

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Tribal Football Staff

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