What a difference an international break makes. Just a few weeks ago this blog was praising Valencia for their brilliant 3-1 win against Atlético, but this weekend Nuno’s side slumped to a 3-0 defeat against struggling Deportivo. Valencia looked a completely different team to the side that humbled the reigning champions, and were without some key players. Andre Gomes, who had been so impressive against Atlético, was sorely missed, so too Diego Alves, who had to be replaced by second choice keeper Yoel after being injured in the warm-up. For Depor, it was a much-needed win that takes them out of the bottom three, and finally lifts some of the pressure off manager Víctor Fernández.
There were no surprises for Madrid or Barça however, who both strolled to victory in preparation for El Clásico. Real put five past Levante, with some sensational goals, including this brilliant chest and volley from James Rodríguez. Isco was outstanding and surely deserves to start against Barça, while Ronaldo has now scored a breathtaking 15 goals in the opening eight weeks of the season, breaking the record set by Esteban Echevarría in the 1940s.
It was slightly less straightforward for Barça, who were held by Eibar for the first 60 minutes at the Camp Nou. But eventually they won 3-0 against the Basques, with Xavi and Neymar scoring. Messi also got his 250th goal in La Liga, meaning he is now one shy of Athletic Club legend Telmo Zarra’s scoring record. And who do they face next? None other than Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Results: Atlético Madrid 2-0 Espanyol; Deportivo de La Coruña 3-0 Valencia; Elche 0-2 Sevilla; Villarreal 1-0 Almería; Granada 0-1 Rayo Vallecano; Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Celta de Vigo; Levante 0-5 Real Madrid; Barcelona 3-0 Eibar; Córdoba 1-2 Málaga. Tonight: Real Sociedad v Getafe