What we learned from La Liga Week 24

1. Whoever wins La Liga will have earned it

With Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla all facing tough away trips to Villarreal, Atletico Madrid and Real Betis respectively, this was billed as the weekend when Los Blancos would either pull away or when the title race would be blown even more open than it was after last midweek’s Valencia win. In the end, all of the top three won those tough away games, even if Real Madrid and Sevilla had to come from behind and if Barcelona needed an incredibly late Lionel Messi goal to see off Diego Simeone’s men. Whoever finishes top of the pile will have earned their championship.

2. Ter Stegen is the league’s best goalkeeper

Although Barcelona earned a 2-1 win at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, they had to rely on Marc-Andre Ter Stegen once again, with the German goalkeeper making five key saves as his team picked up the victory. He has been exceptional, including in the nightmare 4-0 loss in Paris, where he prevented it from being even worse. Despite a couple of iffy showings in the first half of the season, he has majorly improved his level and is surely the league’s best goalkeeper right now. Villarreal’s Sergio Asenjo had been a worthy rival for that title, but his unfortunate knee injury has seen his season sadly cut short.

3. Gaizka Garitano was unlucky to be sacked

After Leganes smashed Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday, the Galician club sent Gaizka Garitano on his way, but the Coach was unfortunate to be sacked for a number of reasons. Firstly, Depor didn’t play too badly at Leganes despite losing 4-0. They actually created better chances, but the Madrid-based side produced a finishing master class, while it also didn’t help that he had to play the final half hour with ten men, which was when the final two goals arrived. Secondly, he has not been helped by the fact that the club sold Lucas Perez to Arsenal and Ryan Babel left for Besiktas. That has left Depor lacking in attack and relying too heavily on Florin Andone, a problem most tacticians would struggle to solve.

4. No reason to panic for Las Palmas

They may have now lost four matches in a row, but there is no reason for Las Palmas to panic as they have been unlucky in those games. Most recently, they lost 1-0 at home to Real Sociedad despite dominating the shot count 18 to nine. That was because of a goalkeeping howler from Javi Varas and some wasteful finishing, two things which shouldn’t carry forward into their upcoming matches. They were similarly unlucky in their previous home match against Sevilla – which they also lost 1-0 – and fans must be pleased with the performances, if not the results. It doesn’t get any easier for them as they now have to visit Real Madrid, but a home match against Osasuna could be a good chance to get back on track after that.

5. Osasuna’s revival looks like it’s over

Speaking of Osasuna, they fell to another defeat this weekend, this time losing 3-0 at Espanyol. That was their second 3-0 defeat in a row, following last week’s unhappy visit to Vigo, and their mini revival appears to have stalled. They had initially improved under director-turned-coach Petar Vasiljevic, but were still failing to pick up points and now their performances have been disappointing again too. They are still bottom of the pile and nine points from safety, making an immediate return to the second division seem increasingly likely.