Despite it only being the second week of action in Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid have already amassed a two point lead over their nearest challengers. Real’s noisy neighbours, Atlético, picked up their first win of the season, and not one of the usual fourth place contenders picked up a win.
Week two got underway in Madrid, as Getafe hosted Eibar at the Estadio Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. After falling to a 1-2 home defeat on opening week to the newly promoted Huesca, Eibar came to Madrid desperate for a win, as they will be aware consecutive losses early on could see them dragged in to a dogged relegation battle, although they left empty handed, as goals from Ángel Luis Rodríguez Díaz and Jorge Molina saw them suffer a 2-0 defeat. After a 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid last week, this win saw Getafe get off the mark, as they look to build on last season’s impressive 8th place finish.
Friday’s late game saw Leganés play host to Real Sociedad. After a dreadful spell under David Moyes, Sociedad now look as though they are back where they belong, and could contest the European positions. Following a 1-2 win over Villareal last week, the club from the Basque Country raced to a 0-2 lead inside 17 minutes, although two second half goals from Nabil El-Zhar, including an 88th minute equaliser, saw the home fans leave happy with a well earned point.
Having conceded an agonising 93rd minute winner opposite Athletic Bilbao last weekend, and facing both Real Madrid and Barcelona in two of the next four match days, each point Leganés rack up early on may prove vital in the long run, as they only finished one place above the relegation zone last season.
Saturday’s first game saw Quique Setién’s Real Betis travel to face Alavés. With both sides losing 3-0 last weekend to their respective opponents, both would have fancied their chances of taking all three points, although in a game dominated by Real Betis, it ended 0-0. With lofty expectations for the season, Betis’ game next week against their city rivals Sevilla, a game which last season ended 5-3 in favour of Betis, is must win, as the pressure is really beginning to build on Setién’s men.
The Atlético Madrid faithful next got to see the first competitive game at the Wanda Metropolitano this season, as they hosted Rayo Vallecano. With Vallecano losing last weekend’s home match 1-4, many expected a landslide, but a typical Diego Simeone performance saw them emerge with a 1-0 win, thanks to an Antoine Griezmann goal following a Stefan Savić flick on from a corner. Vallecano had 54% possession and out-struck Atlético by 13 shots to 9, but Simeone’s defensive approach again proved fruitful as they will push for a second league win in five seasons.
Saturday’s action rounded off at the Estadio José Zorrilla as Real Valladolid welcomed the reigning champions Barcelona, and it was not the action on the pitch that grabbed the headlines, but the pitch itself.
The turf was laid only two days before kick-off, resulting in a horrific game in which there were thankfully no serious injuries, and Valladolid now face punishment from the Spanish FA. As for the result, Ousmane Dembélé scored the only goal of the game just before the hour mark thanks to a Sergi Roberto assist, although Barcelona will probably value their main stars escaping without injury over the three points.
Sunday got underway in Barcelona, as two winless sides went head-to-head at the RCDE Stadium. Espanyol and Valencia both drew their games 1-1 on match day one, and following last year’s fourth placed finish, Valencia could not have asked for a worse start this campaign.
They took a well earned point away from the game opposite Atlético, but fell to a 2-0 defeat here, with goals coming from Esteban Granero and Borja Iglesias. Although some were predicting a relegation threatened campaign for Espanyol, they have taken four points from their opening two games, while Valencia have fallen behind the pace early on under Marcelino.
Sunday night then saw two games kick-off simultaneously, as Real Madrid travelled to Catalonia to face Girona, and Villarreal travelled down South to face Sevilla. In the first game, Girona took a surprise, although well deserved, lead thanks to a well taken effort from Borja García, but there was no stopping the side from the capital. A cool Sergio Ramos penalty fired them level five minutes before the break, while the second-half saw a Karim Benzema brace, including another penalty, and a clinical Gareth Bale finish. The 1-4 win puts Real top on goal difference early on, as Julen Lopetegui has bounced back well following a disastrous UEFA Super Cup.
Meanwhile, at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, both sides played out a closely contested 0-0 draw. After comfortably beating Rayo Vallecano 1-4 on the road last week, and seeing Villarreal’s poor defensive display against Real Sociedad, Sevilla may feel that they should have taken all three points, as they are building momentum under new head coach Pablo Machín and his 3-5-2 formation.
Having guided Girona to 10th place last season, he will be confident of getting his new side in back in to the Champions League, while last campaign’s fifth placed finishers, Villarreal, remain winless after two.
Monday’s first game saw Levante host Celta Vigo. After a draw last weekend, Celta picked up three points, as goals from Pione Sisto and Maxi Gómez were enough, despite a 78th minute penalty from José Luis Morales. Levante should not be in trouble under ‘Paco’ López, and Celta remain undefeated under new coach Antonio Mohamed.
Although 13th place appears below par on paper, Celta were only two points behind ninth, and should be confident of finishing in a Europa League place if Iago Aspas continues his incredible goal scoring form.
Week two ended at the San Mamés, as Athletic Bilbao welcomed tiny Huesca to the Basque Country. After an upset win last weekend against Eibar, many expected Huesca’s luck to run out when they found themselves 2-0 down thanks to goals from Markel Susaeta and new signing Yuri Berchiche.
However, Huesca had other ideas. Jorge Miramón gave them a lifeline in the 71st minute and, almost inexplicably, Ezequiel Ávila equalised in the 88th. Huesca, whose stadium only holds 5,500 people, are still undefeated during their maiden La Liga campaign, and although a trip to the Camp Nou next weekend may prove too big a challenge, they will surely enjoy their time in the top flight, no matter how long it lasts.