La Liga Roundup Week 11: Getting In The Groove

The upsets from this weekend proved that anything can happen in Spain’s top flight. The league’s depth is unmatched (except perhaps in Germany), and as contenders Atlético Madrid, Sevilla, and Valencia found out on Sunday, upsets can happen at any time.

Real Madrid 5 – Rayo Vallecano 1: Gareth Bale started for the first time since coming back from his injury and didn’t take long to make his presence known. The Welshman scored 9 minutes into the game as part of a five goal Madrid romp in the Santiago Bernabeu. The win makes it 13 straight for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, just two away from the joint record of 15 held by Miguel Muñoz’s 1960-61 team and by José Mourinho’s squad in 2011-12. Also of note is Cristiano Ronaldo scoring in his 10th straight league game.

Barcelona 2 – Almeria 1: Luis Enrique was saved by Luis Suarez in this nervy encounter. Although Suarez didn’t score, he provided the assists for both goals after his inclusion in the second half. The first half was a disaster as Barcelona could not create anything going forward, Messi at times picking up the ball in the right back zone. Almeria, a team that thrives on the counter attack, scored in the 37th minute after forward Thievy skinned Marc Bartra and slotted the ball to Claudio Bravo’s right. Suarez heroics in the second half salvaged the game for Barcelona as the aforementioned forward assisted on both Neymar’s and Jordi Alba’s goals, giving him three in the league and four overall.

Atlético Madrid 1 – Real Soceidad 2: Diego Simeone’s men fell to manager-less Real Soceidad at the Anoeta on Sunday as Imanol Agirretxe’s late strike was the difference between the two sides. Atléti scored off first as striker Mario Mandzukic was on the board within 10 minutes. La Real quickly equalized through former Arsenal man Carlos Vela in the 15th minute, and looked the more threatening side throughout the first half. The men from Madrid were also being hastily cautioned by referee Alfonso Alvarez Izquierdo and were playing the game with ten men after left back Guilherme Siquiera was sent off in the 5oth minute.

Valencia 0 – Athletic Club de Bilbao 0: Valencia surrendered third place as well as a perfect record at the Mestalla when they drew to Athletic Club. Ernesto Valverde’s organized side denied Nuno Espirito’s men goalscoring opportunities and the high flying Valencianistas, who had scored three in each of their five matches in the Mestalla, were held scoreless for the first time on their ground. The Basques, who in midweek exited the Champions League, were without Markel Susaeta, Iker Muniain and top scorer Aritz Aduriz, who were all out injured.

Other results: Córdoba 0 – Deportivo 0; Getafe 0 – Elche 0; Celta Vigo 0 – Grenada 0; Malaga 2 – Eibar 1; Sevilla 1 – Levante 1; Espanyol 1 – Villareal 1.

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