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Tuesday November 1 2016
What we learned from La Liga Week 10

The La Liga title race and relegation battles are heating up. David Peters looks back at five of the most interesting talking points of last weekend’s action.

1. La Real mean business

Leganes hosted Real Sociedad on Friday evening in the first match of the week ten action and fans at Butarque played witness to a brilliant display from their Basque visitors. The San Sebastian club have moved into sixth place by playing some impressive football over the past few weeks and were at it again on Friday night. With their ‘doble pivote’ defensive-midfield partnership of Asier Illarramendi and David Zurutuza, La Real controlled the match from start to finish and saw out a comfortable 2-0 victory. Illarramendi and Zurutuza are the engine room of this team, working the middle of the park so intensely and methodically that Real Sociedad’s strikers are free to flourish. Next up for them is Atletico Madrid, which will truly test how far they’ve come.

2. Atleti are less reliant on Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann failed to score for the fourth Atletico Madrid match in a row, but that didn’t stop Los Rojiblancos from securing another La Liga win, this time seeing off Malaga 4-2 at the Vicente Calderon. While the capital city side often seemed reliant on their French star last season, they now have a three-pronged attack which includes Kevin Gameiro and Yannick Carrasco. So when one of the three isn’t scoring goals, just as Griezmann isn’t at this moment in time, then there is likely to be someone else able to stand up and get the job done.

3. Poyet is under pressure

Real Betis have had a tricky start to the season, so a home match against fellow strugglers Espanyol could have provided the spoonful of winning medicine necessary to get their season back on track. Yet their Catalan guests left Seville with a 1-0 win. That only added to the pressure that Coach Gus Poyet was already under, and the Uruguayan recognised the fans’ frustration after the match. Nobody can say Poyet isn’t trying all he can, as he even switched his tactical system on Sunday night in order to give a 4-4-2 formation a go, but nothing seems to be working. With a tough trip to Villarreal up next before the international break, it won’t get any easier for Poyet any time soon.

4. No easy points for Barcelona and Real Madrid

The two giants of Spanish football both secured a win this past weekend, but it wasn’t straight forward for either of them. First up were Real Madrid, but Alaves made Los Blancos work hard for the three points, even if they ultimately collapsed in the final few minutes to make the final scoreline a flattering 4-1. The Basque side actually took the lead in the match via Deyverson, but a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick and an Alvaro Morata lob spared the Madrid side’s blushes. Then, a few hours later in Catalonia, Barcelona hosted bottom-placed Granada. The Andalusian side defended fairly well and looked dangerous on the counter attack, but Blaugrana ultimately eked out a 1-0 win thanks to Rafinha’s delightful overhead kick. Nonetheless, it was far from simple.

5. You never know what will happen with Eibar

Eibar are proving to be one of the most unpredictable and inconsistent teams in the whole division. Last week, they were brilliant in their first half against Espanyol, before blowing their three-goal lead to draw 3-3 in the second half. Just before that, they had managed to lose at home to struggling Osasuna, but then they managed to defeat Villarreal 2-1 on Sunday, in what was their next home match. That means they lost to a team that hadn’t yet won two weeks ago, before defeating a team that hadn’t yet lost last weekend. 

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