Here is a round-up of this weekend’s La Liga action, starting with the best, of course, as always:
1. Elche 0-2 Atletico Madrid
To be honest, there really should have been a higher scoreline, as Elche were basement-dwelling, relegation fodder, sitting in 19th place prior to the game — now 20th thanks to this loss. They had fight, but not enough passion or well-oiled teamwork to match Atleti.
The two goals, the first from 19-year-old José Gimenez and the second from Mario Mandzukic, were elegant. Both were the result of terrific set-ups that were clearly the result of solid training. Gimenez must have felt quite vindicated in his first league goal for Atleti, as his goal in the Copa Del Rey match earlier in the week was disallowed. Atleti continue to sit third in the table.
2. Barcelona 5-1 Espanyol
The Catalan derby was highly annoying in that I would very much have liked Barcelona to lose. On Saturday, Atletico Madrid had moved up to second place behind greedy-pants Real Madrid, which would have been a fine place to remain. But Barca were inconsiderate.
While the match started off nicely, with a goal from Espanyol’s Sergio García in the 13th minute, Messi went on to score a hat-trick, interspersed by goals from Piqué and Pedro.
3. Villarreal 4-0 Real Sociedad
Ouch! Moyes stated after the defeat that, “It could have been more, we could have lost more goals,” and “We made some terrible mistakes, defensively bad mistakes, especially with the third and fourth goals.”
Earlier this week, he went on about being unhappy with the 0-0 draw against Real Oviedo in last Thursday’s Copa del Rey match. “I’ll get my coat,” he added after the loss to Villarreal. (He didn’t really say that.)
4. Real Madrid 3-0 Celta
Ronaldo, hat trick, another record, 18th straight win for the club. Yawn.
5. Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Cordoba
I’m giving Cordoba the fifth talking point spot this week because it was their first win since promotion back into the top flight this season, and it moved them up into 18th place. It was their first La Liga win in 42 years, and Athletic’s first defeat in seven league games, so well done Cordoba. Both sides were decent defensively and made several chances, but Cordoba pulled through, which should give them a nice boost of confidence.