Good news for Real Madrid! Bad news for Sevilla!
And oh my, what did Aubameyang just do? Well, on Sunday he entered the history books as the first player in the 21st Century to score hat-tricks in four top European football leagues – the Premier League, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1, and now LaLiga.
Remember this is just his third appearance for Barcelona after decamping from Arsenal where his relationship with the Gunners boss Mikel Arteta hit rock-bottom. Should we say eat your heart out, Arteta?
Moving on swiftly, it was a good weekend for the majority of the teams in the top-eight of the La Liga classification as six of them won, while at the bottom, things continue to look grim for Alaves and Cadiz. Here are four things we learned this weekend in Spain.
1 Aubameyang offers solutions for Barcelona
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice in Barcelona’s comfortable 4-1 win away to Valencia and offered hope to Barca fans that he can be at least a short-term solution to his side’s problems in front of goal.
The former Arsenal player was quick and mobile, opened up the flanks when needed and then popped up in the right place to score twice. As well as his goals, Aubameyang’s movement was a constant problem for Valencia and once he had helped put Barca 3-0 ahead in the first half, it was pointless for Valencia to try and play their normal game of disrupting their rivals play and trying to run down the clock.
With Sergio Busquets also in good form, it was an important win for Xavi Hernandez’s side that confirms their upward trend ahead of a tough European visit to Napoli.
2 Herrera gives life to Atletico Madrid
Osasuna keeper Sergio Herrera has had an excellent season, but he had a day to forget on Saturday as Atletico Madrid got back on track after a poor run of form and results with a 3-0 win in Osasuna’s El Sadar Stadium.
Although Osasuna had almost three times as many shots as Atletico in the game, Atletico were highly effective in front of the goal and Herrera won’t like seeing the replays of their two opening goals. The first saw him fail to deal with a corner (although some referees may have penalized Luis Suarez for obstructing) while the second saw Suarez’s quick thinking catch him well out of his penalty area as Osasuna pressed for an equalizer.
3 Athletic Club out muscle Real Sociedad in Basque derby
Athletic Club Bilbao fans were treated to an excellent performance by their side to beat local rivals Real Sociedad 4-0 in the Basque derby on Sunday evening. Although Iker Muniain saw a first half penalty saved, it didn’t matter as his companions turned in a high-intensity display their rivals simply could not live with and four goals in a 20-minute spell midway through the second half decided the game decisively Athletic’s way.
Real Sociedad looked flat after playing in the Europa League on Thursday night, but their rivals have also played a lot of midweek games in 2022 and (apart from last week in Mallorca) the excellent work of coach Marcelino Garcia Toral has kept their energy levels high.
4 Three out of four in relegation battle?
Although bottom of the table Levante have still to play, the relegation battle looks to be increasingly a case of three sides from four in danger of the drop. Alaves lost to Real Madrid, while Cadiz were held in a ‘six-pointer’ at home to Getafe to frustrate their survival chances.
With Getafe improving all of the time and Mallorca benefitting from the January arrival of striker Vedat Muriqi, only Granada look to be in real danger of dropping into the bottom three as Robert Moreno struggles with a run of five consecutive defeats and an attitude to the press that is winning him no friends when he probably needs them most.
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