This was a weekend of significant importance for the sides outside top 4, as Jornada 27 saw some major upheavals in the La Liga table. Espanyol’s wheels seem to be coming off, as a sixth defeat in seven matches condemned them to the sixth place, with Bilbao moving into fifth. Sevilla once again shot themselves in the foot, giving away a very soft penalty and scoring an own goal. Deportivo scored more than one goal only for the second time in 10 games to secure a vital victory. Malaga went to the bottom of the table, while Osasuna and Sporting created a ‘safety zone’ between them and other relegation battlers. Overall, it was a tepid weekend at the top, but the real action was at the bottom. Barca scraped a win against a resolute Zaragoza side, whereas Racing’s flamboyant owner Syed Ali did not get a chance to celebrate against Real Madrid, as his side lost 3-1.

Pellegrini put one of his feet inside the grave he had dug last matchday by saying out loud what everyone already knew: That Real and Barcelona are in a different league. Losing to Osasuna did not help Malaga’s survival bid one bit, and the fans were understandably irate.

Results of the weekend

Mallorca 1 – 2 Valencia

Barcelona 1 – 0 Real Zaragoza

Atlético Madrid  3 – 1 Villarreal

Sporting Gijón   2 – 0 Getafe

Hércules 1 – 2 Almería

Málaga 0 – 1 Osasuna

Levante 1 – 0 Espanyol

Athletic Bilbao   2 – 0 Sevilla

Racing Santander 1 – 3 Real Madrid

Deportivo 2 – 1 Real Sociedad

Game of the week

Atletico Madrid 3-1 Villareal

Undoubtedly the fixture of the weekend. The match had a the makings of a barnstorming, beginning with a beauty of a goal from Reyes. The game was played at a frenetic pace, with both the teams always seeking to score. However, Atletico never looked to be in trouble despite the fact that “Yellow Submarine” drew level with a bullet of a goal from Rossi. Even the empty seats did not deter rest of the home fans, who were fully behind the home team. Finally, the home support counted, and their two misfiring strikers Forlan and Aguero both scored goals, the likes of which they have been missing this season all along.

Player of the week

Pablo Hernandez (Valencia)

A truly stellar performance

Pablo Hernandez edges out one other stellar performer Ozil who could easily have been the player of the week any other day. Hernandez’s superb half volley and cool composure were the main reasons for Valencia’s victory. Los Che came from behind to secure all 3 points and kept Villarreal in the fourth spot for another round.

Goal of the week

Jose Antonio Reyes (Atletico Madrid) Vs Villareal

Reyes’ quality was never in doubt, but his temperament was. Ever since moving to cross town rivals Atletico, Reyes has always flattered to deceive. He was even shipped out to Benefica one season. When given a rare run in the team, he failed to deliver.

Finally beginning to deliver

However, finally he seems to be coming of age as this goal so clearly shows. His goal set the tempo for the entire match and Villarreal never recovered after that.

Upset of the week

Levante 1-0 Espanyol

Maybe this was an upset; maybe it was not. Levante are fast turning into giant killers and looking increasingly likely to survive the drop. Espanyol on the other hand are in a freefall and just can’t seem to win. Amazingly, only 13 points separate the two teams at this stage. This is despite the fact, that initially in the season, it seemed that gulf in class between the two was bigger than the Pacific Ocean.

Their striker Felipe Caicedo is starting to turn a few heads, especially those of the teams in the upper half of the table. He has scored 11 goals this season despite spending a huge amount of time on the sidelines. This is a phenomenal return for a bottom half team, and that too from a loan signing. If Levante stay up, it will be in no short measure an acknowledgment of this man’s contributions.

Team of the week

Toni Doblas (Zaragoza), Abraham Paz (Hercules) , Jiri Jarosik (Zaragoza),Del Horno (Levante) , Jose Reyes (Atletico Madrid), Pablo Hernandez (Valencia), Seydou Keita (Barcelona), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid)

Team of the week

Primera División table

  1. Barcelona – 74 points
  2. Real Madrid – 67 points
  3. Valencia – 54 points
  4. Villarreal – 50 points
  5. Athletic Bilbao – 41 points
  6. Espanyol – 40 points

Race for the Pichichi

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – 27 (28) according to MARCA who awards the “pichichi”
  2. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) – 27
  3. David Villa (FC Barcelona) – 17
  4. Fernando Llorente (Athletic Club) – 15
  5. Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal) – 14