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Monday November 7 2016
What we learned from La Liga Week 11

La Liga threw up another fascinating weekend of action before the international break. David Peters discusses Week 11’s biggest talking points.

1. Barcelona’s will to win is as strong as ever

Despite the significant injuries to Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba, Barcelona found a way to extract all three points from the Sanchez Pizjuan on Sunday night. Sevilla came out flying, were tactically superior to Barcelona for the opening half an hour and deservedly went ahead, but Leo Messi kept plugging away and eventually found a way to level the scores before the break. Then, following the interval, Luis Suarez scored a vital goal before the Catalans showed the kind of victory-securing grit and determination that makes Real Madrid’s two-point lead at the top look incredibly shaky.

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2. Bale is proving his worth

It’s impossible to say if Gareth Bale is worth every penny of the bumper new contract he signed last week, given his new deal included an awful lot of pennies, but he is certainly doing his best to show the Real Madrid hierarchy why he deserved the recent extension and pay rise. His two first-half goals against Leganes set a sluggish-looking Los Blancos XI up for a comfortable second half and, ultimately, for another three points. When the second of his strikes hit the back of the net, the Welshman was temporarily joint-top of the Madrid scoring charts, although Alvaro Morata retook the lead with an effort of his own in the second half. 

3. Atleti’s away form is a problem – and potentially a long-term one

With Saturday’s reverse away at Real Sociedad, Atletico Madrid have now failed to win in four of their six La Liga away matches this season. It should be noted that they have had a difficult away fixture list, which has included trips to Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla, but there has not been a single away game this season in which they have convinced, including in their Champions League visit to PSV and Rostov. That is obviously a problem for this season, but it also suggests there could be problems when they move to their new stadium as that new venue could take a while to feel like home.  Check out the best football betting apps here for odds on Los Colchoneros’ next trip.

4. Europa League football could be hurting Athletic’s League form

Aritz Aduriz thrilled the continent last Thursday night as he bagged five goals in Athletic Bilbao’s Europa League win over Genk, but it was not quite as happy an outing for the Basque and his colleagues on Sunday, when the Basques side drew 0-0 at Espanyol. That was third consecutive post-Europa League match which has finished without a win for Athletic, suggesting that their midweek continental exploits could be taking a toll on their League form. They did manage to squeeze past struggling Valencia following their first Europa League outing of the season, but have since lost two and drawn one of their post-Europa League matches.

5. Osasuna are in big trouble

With just one win to their name coming into this past weekend, a home match against fellow new boys Deportivo Alaves provided Osasuna with an excellent opportunity to put some more points on the board. Yet the Pamplona-based team fell to a 1-0 loss, which keeps them in 19th place and leaves them with just seven points from their first 11 outings. In terms of keeping the fans on board, the defensive formations won’t do them many favours, nor will the fact they’ve yet to win at home. With the next visitors to El Sadar being Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla, it could get worse before it gets better.   

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