Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid Open 3-point Gap at the Top
The Argentine coach is now one game shy of 500 with this side and they look like they will be the main protagonists in this year’s La Liga title race. Atletico Madrid opened a 3 point gap at the top of the table as they defeated Basque side Real Sociedad by 2 goals to nothing. It was win number 300 for Simeone as they put aside a team that is contending for the La Liga title this season.
Atletico Madrid took the lead through Mario Hermoso who is finding form on the left side of Atletico’s new back 3 formation. The revelation of the year Marcos Llorente doubled the lead in the 74th minute to ensure the win. Los Colchoneros are 3 points clear of rivals Real Madrid who take on Granada tonight while Atletico has a game in hand. It looks like the title race will be between the two Madrid sides.
Lionel Messi is Still King
Barcelona took on Real Valladolid at the Jose Zorrilla stadium and the Catalan side won by 3 goals to nil. Lionel Messi put on a show as he set up the first goal for Clement Lenglet with a curling cross that the French defender headed home. The Argentine was involved in the second goal as well, playing the pass that set Sergino Dest free to cross for Martin Braithwaite’s goal. He then scored goal number 644 to take him above Pele who scored 643 goals for Santos across 19 seasons. The backheel from Pedri Gonzalez was spectacular and Messi’s take was gorgeous before scoring past Jordi Masip.
The 33-year-old played 4 key passes, hit the woodwork twice, and completed 5 dribbles in a man-of-the-match performance for his side. He has created the most big chances in the league this season and now he is getting on the score sheet. So much for a bad season!
Sevilla Defeat Valencia in the Battle of 4th Place
In the last 4 years, Valencia and Sevilla have shared 4th place in La Liga between each other. Sevilla has taken the spot twice and Valencia has taken it twice too. The two sides met at the Mestalla Stadium and Sevilla won the game thanks to a lone goal by Suso. Midfielder Joan Jordan played a rasping pass from deep in midfield before Suso cut inside Mouctar Diakhaby and unleashed a venomous shot beyond Jaume Domenech. Sevilla moves to 6th while Valencia hangs dangerously above the relegation zone. Javi Garcia’s side is just 3 points above Huesca at the bottom of the table despite sitting in 13th place. Sevilla dominated the game with 70% of the possession and they created the big chance of the game despite more shots on target from Valencia however, Sevilla scored the decisive goal of the game.
Villarreal Continue Their 17-game Unbeaten Run Against Athletic Bilbao
Villarreal and Athletico Bilbao played out a 1-1 draw at the Estadio de la Ceramica. The draw means that Villarreal is unbeaten since their 4-0 loss to Barcelona in September. Unai Emery’s men fell behind to an Inaki Williams goal after a glorious through ball from Yuri Berchiche. Yeremi Pino hit the woodwork later on before smashing a wonderful shot beyond Unai Simon for the equalizer. The 18-year-old was making his full La Liga scored his 1st senior goal for the yellow submarines. With Villarreal in 4th and Athletic Bilbao in 9th, both sides are firmly in the running for European places. Athletic Bilbao is finally finding some stability after a shaky start to the season while Unai Emery carries on his fantastic work so far with Villarreal.
Huesca Continue to Draw Games
Huesca has drawn 9 games so far in La Liga, the most in the league. They added the 9th of that tally after a match against Levante who may be far away on the standings but not so much in points. Ruben Vezo conceded a penalty when a shot inadvertently touched his hand in the 31st minute and Javi Ontiveros scored the penalty. Gonzalo Melero thrashed in a shot against his former side to equalize and seal the draw. Most La Liga experts would have predicted a banal draw between the two sides and that was what played out. Huesca faces Celta Vigo next while Levante welcomes Real Betis next.