This weekend saw the two-horse La Liga race turn into a single horse one. The wheels of Real’s title challenge were already looking shaky in the previous few matches and in a truly hostile atmosphere at Reyno de Navarra, they finally came off. A clear pattern seems to be emerging for the Champions league places with Villarreal and Valencia emerging as firm favourites. For the rest, there was a huge re-shuffle in the pecking order and with the difference in points being negligible, there is still everything to play for.
Deportivo 3-3 Sevilla
Hercules 0-3 Barcelona
Málaga 1-2 Zaragoza
Real Sociedad 2-0 Almería
Levante 2-0 Getafe
Mallorca 0-4 Gijon
Espanyol 0-1 Villareal
Osasuna 1-0 Real Madrid
A Madrid 0-0 Bilbao
The top four Primera División table:
Barcelona: Champions Elect?
What makes this Barcelona team deliver superhuman performances week in week out? Is it hatred for Real Madrid, love for football, or something divine? Maybe it is a combination of all. Barcelona dismissed Hercules with yet another 3-0 scoring spree. Messi, despite enduring a frustrating night, scored a late brace and added sheen to Barcelona’s victory.
When your opponent starts praising you in glowing terms and your own players start talking about being out of the title race despite being only 4 points down, one should sit up and take notice. This is what Mourinho failed to do, and thus ended Real’s title hopes with a 1-0 loss at Osasuna.
Coming to lesser mortals, Villarreal continued their fine run and won 1-0 at Espanyol courtesy an astounding goal by Rossi.
Bilbao continued their quest for a European place, with a 2-0 victory over the ever inconsistent Atletico at Calderon. Real Sociedad, the other Basque side improved their chances of survival with a convincing 2-0 victory over Almeria.
Sevilla produced a humdinger at Riazor, almost pulling off an epic comeback. As for the other teams, the relegation dogfight got murkier, with Malaga now being rooted to the bottom and Racing and Zaragoza climbing out of the relegation zone. Even Gijon had something to smile about after recent travails as they smashed a sorry Mallorca 4-0.
Player of the week: Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla)
Easily the best player this weekend. “The beast of Vallecas” grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck and dragged Sevilla into a game when all seemed lost. He would have won the game for Sevilla also, had it not been for absolute incompetence on the referee’s part, allowing a goal which was miles offside.
Nothing can be taken away from his performance, which gave a 10-men Sevilla a priceless point.
The beast of Vallecas: A beauty of a performance
Match of the week: Deportivo 3-3 Sevilla
This week had several contenders for the match of the week: The shock defeat of Real Madrid at the hands of Osasuna and 4-0 drubbing of Europa league pretenders Mallorca at the hands of Sporting Gijon being the main contenders.
However, due to sheer drama element of a 10-men team going down 2-0 away from home, then going 3-2 up and drawing only due to sheer refereeing bias and incompetence, this match was truly the pick of the lot. It showed that despite all the problems and inconsistency, Sevilla still have the ‘cojones’ to come back and make a match out of a lost cause.
Team of the week:
Ricardo, Iraola, Alves, Sergio, Canella, Martinez, Aranda, Messi, Negredo, Rossi, Toquero
Top Scorers this season:
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||22|