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Monday February 6 2017
What we learned from La Liga Week 21

The weather may have blown off two stadium roofs and two matches, but David Peters looks back on the remains of a disrupted La Liga weekend.

1. The rain in Spain falls mostly on Galicia

A fierce storm hit the north-west of Spain over the weekend, causing damage to the roofs of Deportivo La Coruna’s Estadio Riazor and Celta Vigo’s Estadio Balaidos. That meant La Liga were forced to postpone Depor’s hosting of Real Betis and Real Madrid’s visit to Vigo, with the latter postponement particularly problematic given that both teams have European commitments and will struggle to find a suitable date to reschedule any time soon. Los Blancos are, therefore, frustrated by the league’s inability to solve the damage in time for kick-off, but the safety-first approach was surely the smart one.

2. Fernando Torres still has a little left in the tank

A month from his 33rd birthday and with just three goals to his name so far this season before this weekend, Fernando Torres proved on Saturday evening that he can still be useful for Atletico Madrid. Having impressed from the bench in Los Rojiblancos’ Copa del Rey match against Barcelona the previous Wednesday evening, Diego Simeone handed El Nino a start against Leganes and he repaid his Coach’s trust. He won an early penalty for the Madrid club, before pouncing to convert the rebound from Antoine Griezmann’s subsequent miss. Then he coolly slotted away a second after the interval to ensure a vital three points. A few more performances like that would be a major boost for the final months of Atletico’s season.

3. Osasuna’s performances are improving, but they’re not getting the results

Since Petar Vasiljevic took over the dugout at El Sadar, Osasuna have been much-improved. Their problem, however, is that they’re still struggling to collect the points necessary to move out of the relegation zone. This weekend they played superbly away at Real Sociedad, yet one again left empty handed, just as they had been unlucky to lose 4-3 to Sevilla, while they will also feel they could have turned their draws against Valencia, Granada and Malaga into victories. With the gap to safety still at eight points, the Pamplona-based team can’t be content with improved performances for much longer. They need points and they need them now.

4. The Eibar miracle continues

While much of the post-match discussion at the Estadio Mestalla on Saturday night centred on how terrible a season Valencia have had, the 4-0 result equally demonstrated what a stellar campaign it has been for Eibar. The team from a town of just 27,000 people is still soaring in the La Liga table and sits inside the top seven, with this impressive win away at Valencia coming after other eye-catching results, such as draws against Real Madrid and Sevilla and victories over the likes of Villarreal and Real Sociedad. It is incredible enough for Eibar to even be in the first division, so for them to be chasing a European spot is simply unbelievable. 

5. Barcelona win thanks to unlikely heroes

Few Barcelona fans were happy with the performances of Neymar, Paco Alcacer and Aleix Vidal just a few months ago, with the latter so out of favour with Luis Enrique that he wasn’t even featuring in most matchday squads. Yet the trio were the driving force behind the Blaugrana’s victory over Athletic Club on Saturday afternoon, proving that a little patience can pay off. Alcacer scored his first league goal since his move to the Camp Nou to kick-start the 3-0 victory, one which was rounded off by a Vidal goal, with a Lionel Messi free-kick sandwiched in between. Neymar, meanwhile, was the best of all, orchestrating Barcelona’s attack and creating chance after chance. The unlikely heroes were the stars of the day.

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