La Liga Wrap Up: Big three all record wins

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid all completed comfortable wins, winning with a combined 12-0 aggregate score between the three of them.  With Valencia and Sevilla dropping points, it sees Los Cules regain the outright lead, with Atletico and Real both showing the race is on, two and four points behind, respectively.

Celta Vigo edged Elche in the Friday night game, with a late 89th minute strike from Nolito enough to settle the tight contest. Elche need to start picking up some points, as they’re sitting in the relegation zone after the weekend.

Saturday saw the big guns all take the stage, with the first game of the weekend featuring Real Madrid traveling to Villarreal and finishing with a 2-0 victory to Los Blancos. A closer game than the scoreline might indicate, with Real more efficient in the attacking third, Villarreal couldn’t finish off their opportunities and paid for their profligacy. Ronaldo continues his amazing scoring run, with Modric adding the gloss with a beautiful touch-and-shoot goal from the top of the box. Not the prettiest of wins, but they’ll take the clean sheet – their first since the opening weekend – and move up the ladder.

Barcelona hosted Granada, hoping to get their attacking groove back, after being held 90 minutes without a shot on target midweek against Malaga, and decimated a hapless Granada defence 6-0.  A Neymar hat-trick, a brace for Messi and a nice headed goal to Rakitic rounded off the scoring.  A perfect match for Barcelona, as it gave them the practice they needed to build up their attacking link up play, and gave Neymar a confidence boost after a bout of poor form. Rakitic continues to impress in midfield, and Messi’s new position in a deeper role is starting to reap benefits, with Luis Suarez eligible to play in four weeks, this Barcelona side could be a real mammoth this season, as they are still yet to concede a goal at the back, too.

Ivan Rakitic scored a great header from a Messi cross during the 6-0 rout of Granada
Ivan Rakitic scored a great header from a Messi cross during the 6-0 rout of Granada

Atletico Madrid are also kicking into gear, putting four past Sevilla, who were joint-top heading into the weekend.  A good showing for the champions, who seem to be more focused in the bigger matchups, pegging back the joint leaders 4-0, although the scoreline is slightly flattered with two late goals.  The talking point was Jimenez scoring in the 90th minute – a bit of a load off his mind after some recent criticism, which was felt with his celebration.

Athletic weren’t able to breakdown a resolute Eibar side, who continue to impress. Bilbao dominated the possession, but weren’t able to turn 72% of possession into clear chances. It finished 0-0 and Eibar now have four points from their two Basque derbies in the top-flight – impressive results against their much bigger rivals.

Eibar battled to a 0-0 draw with Bilbao
Eibar battled to a 0-0 draw with Bilbao in the second Basque derby of the season.

Alarm bells are well and truly starting to ring at Levante, losing 2-0 at home to Rayo Vallecano.  A second brace in as many games for Leo Baptistao is making him look a fantastic pick up for Paco Jemez’s side, and back-to-back wins have moved them out of trouble and into the top half of the table. Alberto Bueno missed a penalty for the team from Vallecas, but the result was never in doubt as they dominated in all facets.

A massive three points for Getafe with their win over Malaga lifting them out of the relegation zone. The bottom nine sides are separated by only three points, so this win is vital to giving them some breathing space. It was another night of poor discipline for Malaga, with Weligton sent off in the 93rd minute marking their fourth red card of the season – and the Brazilian perhaps should’ve been sent off midweek against Barcelona too.

Almeria are moving away from the bottom clump of teams, too, with a very lucky 1-0 win over Deportivo la Coruña, courtesy of a 92nd minute deflected shot to trickle into an open goal.  A tough pill to swallow for Depor fans, particularly after a recent derby loss and the Galicians have now lost three on the bounce.

A much improved performance by Real Sociedad saw them draw 1-1 with Valencia, who were also equal-top before this round started. All the goals came in the first half, with Carles Gil giving Los Che the lead in the 14th minute, before former Real Madrid midfielder Sergio Canales leveled the scoreline 10 minutes before the interval. Sociedad could’ve expected more from the game, dominating for large swathes of the match, but had to be content with the point. Promising form for La Real, but the fact that they only seem to be up for the big matches must be alarming for Jagoba Arraste.

The last game of the weekend saw Cordoba host Espanyol in a scoreless draw. A scrappy affair, Espanyol have failed to find their feet this season, with Cordoba proving the better side but not doing enough to win. A chance missed by both sides, as Cordoba sit dead last, and Espanyol only one win above them.

Results in full:

Elche 0-1 Celta Vigo; Getafe 1-0 Malaga; Levante 0-2 Rayo Vallecano; Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Eibar; Atletico Madrid 4-0 Sevilla; Barcelona 6-0 Granada; Villarreal 0-2 Real Madrid; Cordoba 0-0 Espanyol; Real Sociedad 1-1 Valencia; Deportivo La Coruña 0-1 Almeria.

About Nick Chernih 22 Articles
An avid football fan, Nick fell in love with the European game long ago and never looked back. One of our dedicated Spanish writers, Nick has been a Barcelona and Chelsea supporter since primary school, and can be recognised by the rings under his eyes on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings after the grueling European time zone takes its toll on his sleeping patterns.

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