La Liga Recap - Matchday 4
Another week of twists and turns, 100% records disappearing into the night sky and Barcelona sitting pretty at the top.
Starting at the summit, and it was Ernesto Valverde’s troops who made the trip mto the newly renovated Anoeta stadium. Gone is the horrendous eye sore of a running track, a lowered pitch and seats filling in the space provided. Yes, one end needs to be completed but the atmosphere was palpable and sense of occasion massive as the Champions were in town.
Unfortunately for the partisan home crowd, Barcelona’s quality showed in the end running out 2-1 winners, having gone one up through Gorka Elustondo. Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele - now with three La Liga goals, as much as he managed last season - struck as Barca remained the only side with a 100% record in a super competitive La Liga. The games big turning point came with the introduction of Sergio Busquets who again showed his outstanding quality in dictating the tempo of the game and making The Blaugrana a more cohesive unit.
Biggest shock of the weekend, although maybe it’s not that much of a shock given their excellent start to the season, is Getafe’s 2-0 victory away from home at Sevilla. An Angel Rodriguez double kept Getafe joint third on seven points, with another hugely impressive and aggressive performance to show they mean business this season. It was a second defeat of the season for Sevilla who were disappointing throughout, mustering only the one attempt on target.
As for Real Madrid, who also found themselves travelling north to the Basque country, dropped their first points under Julen Lopetegui, which depending on how the season pans out, could really be a point gained at a notoriously difficult ground to travel to. Lopetegui agreed, saying, "We knew it is one of the most difficult stadiums away from home, people push, but regardless of that, Athletic are a team that knows very well what they play. It is difficult to reach them and generate chances, then in the second half we overcame the pressure and got a result." Isco’s header cancelled out “Darling of San Mames”, Iker Munian’s scrambled opener as Madrid find themselves playing catch up at the summit.
Many people’s preseason favourites Atletico Madrid dropped yet more points this weekend prompting the same people and media outlets saying a title challenge has already disappeared for “Cholo” Simeone’s side, now trailing the leaders by a massive seven points. It was up to starlet Borja Garces – who some Atleti fans have prematurely labelled “the new El Nino” - to rescue his side in the 94th minute. The promising 19 year old academy graduate equalized after Sergi Enrich had thought he had grabbed a valuable three points, having scored in the 87th minute. It was heart break in particular for Eibar’s excellent shot stopper and probably man of the match Marko Dmitrovic who pulled of a string of impressive saves.
Other standout results this weekend came from the Mestalla were surprisingly two of last seasons entertainers Valencia and Betis playing out a stalemate, a game which promised goals galore. But game of the weekend goes to Monday nights enthralling 3-2 win for Girona, at home to an impressive Celta Vigo side who had previously been undefeated so far.
Cristhian Stuani struck twice either side of the half time break with Pedro Alcala restoring the home side’s lead after Iago Aspas’ free kick had cancelled out Stuani’s opener. Birthday boy Sofiane Boufal’s late strike was not enough to deny the home side an excellent 3-2 victory.
Huesca 0-1 Ray Vallecano
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Eibar
Real Sociedad 1-2 Barcelona
Valencia 0-0 Betis
Ath. Bilbao 1-1 Real Madrid
Leganes 0-1 Villareal
Espanyol 1-0 Levante
Valladolid 0-1 Alaves
Sevilla 0-2 Getafe
Girona 3-2 Celta Vigo