In many ways it was a stereotypical weekend for La Liga. Barça hit Granada for six, Atlético beat Sevilla 4-0, and Real Madrid secured an important 2-0 win against Villarreal. Casillas was back in action after being left out in midweek against Elche, and finally looks to have recovered some of his confidence and form. He performed admirably, doing well when called upon and making a fine double save, vindicating Ancelotti’s decision to start him. After months of uncertainty in the Madrid goal, it was good to see Casillas back to his best.
Diego Simeone also returned after serving a lengthy eight-match ban. El Cholo had an instant effect on his team, as Atlético brushed aside Sevilla 4-0. The Argentine was energetic as ever on the sidelines (just look at his reaction to Saul’s goal) and galvanised his team after a disappointing draw on Tuesday against Celta Vigo. This was proof, if needed at all, that Atlético remain firm title contenders. Real Madrid and Barcelona, beware.
After their blip on Wednesday against Málaga, Luis Enrique’s Barça were back to winning ways as they took apart Granada 6-0. Neymar scored a hat-trick, Messi got two and Rakitić completed the rout, as Enrique’s side moved top of the table. The Camp Nou seems a much happier place than last season, and Messi is once again at the heart of the team, orchestrating things from a deeper role.
Elsewhere, the only shock result was tiny Eibar holding Athletic Club to a goalless draw at the San Mamés, no mean feat for any side. Eibar have so far beaten Real Sociedad, Deportivo and Elche, as well as drawing against Villarreal, and are sitting pretty in 8th place. To put that into context, they are now eight places above their Basque rivals Athletic, and only two off Real Madrid. Their remarkable story in La Liga continues.
Results: Elche 0-1 Celta, Villarreal 0-2 Real Madrid, Barcelona 6-0 Granada, Atlético 4-0 Sevilla, Athletic 0-0 Eibar, Levante 0-2 Rayo, Getafe 1-0 Málaga, Deportivo 0-1 Almería, Real Sociedad 1-1 Valencia, Córdoba 0-0 Espanyol.