Quick Overview

First things first. Levante had 15 points in 19 games last season. This season they already have racked up 17 points in 7 games. To top this, they have conceded only 3 goals – 1 less than Barcelona and Sevilla, 2 less than Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Romantic, gritty, tough as nails; choose any superlative to describe them. For the all the talks of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Levante are the real plaudit winners this weekend.

The big two continued their dominance, winning their matches easily. Gonzalo Higuain scored yet another hat-trick, the last one of which was a beautiful goal. With a brace of assists from Di Maria and Ronaldo, Real won 4-1. Messi again mesmerized the defense and scored a brace to help Barca win 3-0.

Elsewhere, Sevilla moved into 4th spot after winning a closely fought encounter. They had their goalkeeper Javi Varas to thank for 3 points after he pulled off a number of great saves to keep Sporting at bay. Despite being one of the 3 sides remaining unbeaten this season, they are yet to convince fully while winning. 8 goals in 7 matches is not what is expected of the Andalucian side.

Ndri Romaric scored his first ever goal for Espanyol. This goal proved to be decisive as the Catalonian side recorded their first away win in 12 matches. This would have cured some of the anxiety that Espanyol face on the road and might serve them better while travelling.

a�?La Reala�? Sociedad keep on sinking deeper and deeper into mire as they succumbed to a third successive defeat after the loss to bottom feeders Zaragoza. Helder Postiga was the man of the match as his brace – including a stunning goal – proved to be the difference between the two sides.

Despite spending millions on firepower, Atletico Madrid are yet to win an away match. The goalless draw against newly promoted Granada did them no favors.

Real Mallorcaa��s new coach Joaquin Caparros had his share of beginnera��s luck after a ludicrous penalty against Valencia helped his side snatch a 1-1 draw at the very last moment.

Getafe and Villarreal continued their extremely disappointing run with a dismal goalless draw. Both sides were cagey and unwilling to take risks as none of them wanted to go away empty-handed.

In a fairly competitive round, here’s our pick of the weekend:

Goal of the weekendA�

.

.

This weeka��s honors belong to Helder Postiga (Real Zaragoza). A wonderful bicycle kick from edge of the box left the goalkeeper with no chance to save the shot. The Portuguese was a menace throughout and gave Real Zaragoza much needed three points.

Other honorable mentions include Gonzalo Higuain and Lionel Messi. Higuain scored with a lovely chip whereas Messia��s perfectly timed run and rounding of the keeper was a joy to watch.

The relegation battlers

It is getting hotter for the Sporting coach Manolo Preciado. With just 1 point from 7 matches, Sporting are in big trouble. Ironically, despite playing relatively well, it is their edge in the final third of the pitch that is blunt. Against Sevilla they had better chances and should have come out with at least a point. However, they failed to do so and consequently find themselves at the bottom of the table.

Racing are another side apart from Sporting that are yet to win a match. Judging by the statistics and the names on the roster, they seem to be a distinctly average side. A surefire relegation candidate, if there was one. However, as Levante will tell you that it is the team that matters and not the names in it.

Granada stifled Atletico and that is a good result for them. Importantly, they did not sit back and scrape out a draw. Despite the final score being 0-0, the match was an end-to-end affair with plenty of action. They are the side with the worst scoring record. Unless that changes soon, it is unlikely that draws will help them to safety.

Match of the weekend

For a neutral football fan, it is always charming to see an underdog win. Levante and Malaga feature in this round of as the match of the weekend with Malaga being on the receiving end.

Levante won 3-0 against the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Santi Cazorla. The score might flatter the Valencian side, but the actual result was fully deserved.

For half an hour, an 11-man Malaga struggled to break down an extremely organized Levante defense, marshaled by their captain Ballesteros. After being reduced to 10 men and 3-0 down at half time, Pellegrini was forced to do damage control as he brought on defensive players to decrease the embarrassment.

All three goals were either due to luck or due to defensive errors or both. But it doesna��t matter. After all, sometimes even a pauper is entitled to a rub of gold.

Player of the weekend

Sergio Ballestros (Levante) is player of weekend after his superb show against Malaga. A veritable giant in defense, both literally and figuratively, the captain marshaled his defense superbly to yet another clean sheet.

Keeping the likes of Cazorla, Nistelrooy, Joaquin at bay is no mean task and the captain showed that he was more than up to the job at hand.

With just 3 goals in 7 matches, the stock of defender is rising by each day and had he been younger, a few scouts would not have been out of question.

Honorable mentions:A�Postiga (Real Zaragoza),A�Higuain (Real Madrid),A�Messi (Barcelona)

Team of the weekend

Formation (4-3-3)

Forwards: Helder Postiga(Zaragoza), Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Midfielders: Romaric (Espanyol), Dani Parejo (Valencia), Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

Defenders: Nano (Levante), Sergio Ballesteros (Levante), Efrain Juarez (Zaragoza), Adil Rami (Valencia)

Goalkeeper: Javi Varas (Sevilla)

Results

Mallorca 1a��1 Valencia,

Getafe 0-0 Villarreal,

Real Madrid 4a��1 Real Betis,

Barcelona 3a��0 Racing,

Granada 0a��0 AtlA�tico,

Rayo Vallecano 0a��1 Espanyol,

Sevilla 2a��1 Sporting,

Athletic-Osasuna, Monday night.

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