Wins for the big 3 kept the triumvirate at the top, as the pre-season predictions predicted, starting to put some distance between them and their competitors. Real dispatched Malaga, a last gasp Barcelona accounted for Valencia, and Atletico Madrid beat Deportivo la Coruna, amidst fan violence, the spectacle was soured by the death of a supporter after the game.
Real Madrid recorded a mammoth 16th consecutive win, with a 2-1 win over Malaga. An interesting game, with Ronaldo uncharacteristically missing some chances, while he laid on goals for Benzema and Bale. Malaga unlucky not to get something out of the game, with some chances going begging. Kameni was the standout for the vanguished, keeping the scoreline respectable. Casillas’ form continues to cause worries for the Galacticos, however. Isco’s red card (2 yellows) means he’ll miss their next league game.
Barcelona needed a 93rd minute goal from Busquets (Busquets!) to finish off Valencia. A tactical shift saw a midfield three of Busquets, Mascherano and Xavi, and Barcelona struggled to control the ball as their accustomed to. I would not look to Luis Enrique employing the same tactic, though it could do a lot better with Rakitic in for Xavi, especially against teams like Real Madrid that like to overload the attacking areas. Barcelona lucky to have a goal incorrectly disallowed when Suarez was flagged offside after diverting in an errant shot. They’ll be relieved to get the 3 points, and keep in touch with a rampant Real Madrid. Madrid will drop points eventually, Barcelona just need to keep in touch. Not the prettiest of games, but all that matters is the W. Men of the match were the 2 goal keepers, who both had inspired games. Bravo looks to be Barcelona’s most important signing, even considering Suarez and Matthieu.
Fan violence marred a 2-0 victory for Atletico over Deportivo. A great game by Arda Turan to keep them in touch with the top 2. Atletico have lost some impetus and concentration compared to last season, and Simeone will have his work cut out to keep them motivated enough to match last season’s heroics.
On Friday, David Moyes recorded his first win in la Liga, with a Carlos Vela hat-trick enough for Real Sociedad to see off Elche 3-0. Something to keep an eye on, to see if it’s just a placebo effect with the new manager, or whether he can turn around their fortunes in the longer term.
Granada attempted to take the game to Sevilla, which severely backfired, as they lost 5-1. A slightly flattering scoreline to Sevilla, who scored the last 4 goals in the 2nd half, 3 of those coming in the final 10 minutes.
Elsewhere, Eibar continued their dream run, surprising Celta de Vigo at home 1-0. Espanyol beat Levante 2-1. Athletic Bilbao are clawing their way back up the table, with another win, 2-1 at Getafe. Villarreal beat Cordoba 2-0, to put real pressure on Cordoba, who now sit 3 points adrift at the bottom. They’ll need a big turnaround to avoid relegation this season.
Almeria and Rayo Vallecano are still to play in the Monday night game.
Results in full:
Real Sociedad 3-0 Elche; Getafe 1-2 Athletic Bilbao; Espanyol 2-1 Levante; Malaga 1-2 Real Madrid; Celta Vigo 0-1 Eibar; Atletico Madrid 2-0 Deportivo La Coruña; Sevilla 5-1 Granada; Cordoba 0-2 Villarreal; Valencia 0-1 Barcelona.