10 things we learned in La Liga: Record blown by Barca, Atletico are still the bees knees
1) A bad weekend for the leaders, but a good one for La Liga...
2) Another remarkable record blown by Barça
3) Don't believe the hype - Real are still lucky
4) Atlético still the bees knees despite defeat
A defeat at Espanyol for Atlético Madrid should not take anything away from a truly remarkable run of eight league wins in a row since the beginning of the season for the Rojiblancos.
Like Barcelona, Diego Simeone's side were just a single victory away from equalling the all-time record. On Saturday, however, Atlético ran into a stubborn Espanyol side that had lost their previous three games. It was only a glitch from the normally impeccable Thibaut Courtois, who failed to cut out a cross that then slipped past him, that stopped Atlético picking up at least a point and remaining tied at the top of the table.
5) Real Sociedad ready for Old Trafford test
Until Saturday’s victory in Mestalla, La Real’s only win of the season was in the opening round when hopes were still high of the Champions League campaign to come. Two defeats in Europe and failure to pick up another victory in La Primera saw rather glum Basque faces in San Sebastian.
But everything looks a little perkier now after a 2-1 win against Valencia, just in time for a trip to Old Trafford to take on a potentially vulnerable Manchester United on Wednesday. There was definitely a bit of a swagger back in Real Sociedad’s step.
6) Valencia still being made to suffer
Aside from the usual outbursts from unhappy players, Miroslav Djukic must be cherishing those quiet moments found in international breaks. After all, no matches can be played by Valencia, and therefore no home defeats can occur to bring about the wrath of Mestalla.
7) Getafe are the new Barcelona
Four consecutive wins for the remarkable Getafe, added to at Granada, see the Coliseum club on the fringes of the Champions League places. A large chunk of this success is owed to Pedro Léon rediscovering his previously vanished mojo, with the midfielder having scoring three in two games. “Winning five of our past six matches is a tremendous run,” beamed Luis García, whose team may be able to go on their 43-point shutdown earlier than ever this season.
8) Almería's sorry start continues
‘Tis a tough business running a small football club that punches above its weight. Almería are doing well just to be in La Primera, but a bad start that sees the club without a win in the current campaign had the supporters gathered and singing the familiar protest songs about mercenary players after Sunday's defeat to Rayo Vallecano. “This was our worst game at our most important moment,” lamented under-pressure boss, Francisco Rodríguez.
9) Betis fans need to keep the faith with Pep
Poor Pepe Mel is rediscovering that football is indeed a cruel mistress with a short memory - like Cruella Deville on gin and downers. “You can’t just throw in the towel and think that everything is complete rubbish after nine rounds,” fumed the Betis boss, fighting back by saying he does not like “the pessimism that surrounds us.”
10) Sevilla still can't win on the road
Nine minutes! Nine blinkin’ minutes. That’s all Sevilla had to hang on for - with a two-goal lead, no less - to break a record that now sees the side without an away league win for 21 games. Sevilla were 2-0 up and in fine fettle before a Manucho header and a blasted free-kick from Patrick Ebert pegged the Andalusians back to 2-2, leaving Unai Emery’s head on the brink of exploding.