La Liga Review: Best Starting XI from August
Goodbye, August. Hello, September.
The first month of the 2012-2013 La Liga season is now complete and we have some time to reflect on the first few weeks of play.
Well technically, it hasn't been a full month and we are going to bend the rules a bit, but we can still look at the first three league matches and give a few players some praise for a solid start.
This column will look at the best players at each position so far in La Liga by listing the strongest possible starting XI based on the first three weeks of play.
This column will continue every month through the end of the season.
Read on to see La Liga's strongest starting XI after the first three weeks of play.
Note: All stats courtesy of WhoScored.
Willy Caballero: Keeper
Malaga's former No. 1 has been so great in the first three matches that Carlos Kameni may not see the pitch anytime soon.
Caballero has been the best, most consistent keeper in La Liga so far.
He has helped Malaga go undefeated in their first three games and co-leads the league with two clean sheets to his name and has an unsustainable 92.3% save percentage.
Cicinho: Right Back
It has only been three games, but Cicinho has already transformed Sevilla's back line. Not since Dani Alves have they had a right back who could contribute so well in attack.
Cicinho put in a man of the match performance in the opener and has not slowed down much since, even if his teammates have.
The Brazilian fullback is a very useful and active part of Sevilla's attack, but is also a great tackler and ball winner.
Cicinho can become one of the top fullbacks in the league if he can maintain his early form.
Diego Godin: Center Back
The Uruguayan is handicapped by only playing two matches thus far, but he has played so well in those two matches that it would be unfair to leave him off this list.
Besides, he was also spectacular against Chelsea in the UEFA Supercopa so he has proven that his league form is no fluke.
Last season, Godin frustrated fans with his inconsistent play and poor discipline. Thus far this year, however, he has been the best center back in Spain.
Even his pass accuracy—which he was often criticized last season—has greatly improved.
If the South American can play at or near this level all season, Los Colchoneros might form the best defense in La Liga.
Martín Demichelis: Center Back
Malaga fans must be tripping over themselves to thank their defensive leader.
Last season, Los Boquerones biggest weakness was unquestionably defense.
After a very tough summer that saw the squad get much smaller and weaker, the common expectation has been that the poor play at the back would not only continue, but get worse.
The Argentinian has really stepped up to become a leader for this team and has Malaga without a defeat in three matches as he has helped them concede just one goal.
This early form is very encouraging for a team in need of some hope at the moment.
Natxo Monreal: Left Back
Demichelis is not the only reason Malaga co-lead the league in fewest goals allowed. His left back has been equally impressive in the first three weeks of play.
Naxto Monreal is arguably the most complete left back in Spain and he is already proving that this season.
He often ventures forward and is never afraid to take shots on goal, but unlike the man he battles for a starting spot with Spain—Jordi Alba—Monreal shows much more discipline and awareness at the back.
With some tough away matches to Atletico and Bilbao coming up soon, we will have a much better gauge of the left back and his team come October.
Abel Aguilar: Midfielder
Team—Deportivo la Coruña
What a revelation Aguilar has been for casual fans already. He looks to be this year's version of Javi Fuego.
The Colombian has been the best defensive midfielder in the league to this point and has been Deportivo's most important player.
It is normal for a defensive midfielder to be the most vital component of a team, but rare that such is the case offensively. Yet, that was the case in Aguilar's second match.
The Deportivo holder had a brilliant showing against Valencia when he helped his team fight back from 3-1 with a brace that earned his team a valuable point.
Here is one star who just hasn't missed a beat since last season.
Beñat was one of the breakout stars of the 2011-2012 season. He played so well last term that Vicente del Bosque used him in a friendly and considered taking him to the Euros.
After two games, the Basque star has been just as impressive. He is making the great loss of Irney to Granada much easier on Betis.
Athletic Club may yet be able to bring their former star back to Bilbao, but after scoring a goal and assisting with two more, Betis will do everything they can to hold onto their best player.
Iago Aspas: Midfielder
Coming into the season, Iago Aspas was listed as one of my top players to watch this year. After just three matches, the 25-year-old is already showing people why.
He has been the best player for newly-promoted Celta Vigo and the Galician club was pleased to have the exciting midfielder sign a contract extension past 2015.
Aspas has chalked up one goal and one assist already and it is safe to assume that he will have a lot more of both before season's end.
Lionel Messi: Forward
The current holder of Spain's Pichichi trophy already has four goals to his name and might find his name on every monthly starting XI this season.
Messi did not score against Valencia , but he has arguably been the best player in the entire league so far.
The scary thing for the rest of Spain is that Messi has yet to even hit top form. We could be in for another historic year for the Argentinian.
Jorge Molina: Forward
Like Diego Godin,the lack of a third match played for Molina cannot make him ineligible for this list, especially since he has been the second-best forward in La Liga.
The 30-year-old Spaniard is tied for second with three goals after two matches and had the league's best individual performance thus far in the opener.
Against Athletic Bilbao, Molina scored two goals, the second coming just before the final whistle to secure the win for Betis.
Tomer Hemed: Forward
So far there has been no more important striker to his team than this young Israeli.
Temer Hemed has scored three of his team' four goals and without his efforts, Mallorca would be near the bottom of the table.
In the opener, it was the striker who scored both of his team's goals to give them the win over Espanyol. He then opened the scoring against Malaga in Mallorca's next game.
Many La Liga fans thought Hemed would be one of the breakout stars of last season, but it looks like he was just a late bloomer and the 25-year-old could be set for a big year.
Diego Alves (Valencia)
He was at his very best in the opener against Real Madrid and was spectacular against Barcelona. Giving up three goals to Deportivo in week two, however, stopped him from making his way onto this list.
Jose Casado (Rayo Vallecano)
The Spaniard has been one of the best defenders in the league so far and will be key to Rayo avoiding relegation this year.
Equally impressive at the back for Deportivo, the 26-year-old followed up a man of the match performance in the opener with a less-than-stellar showing against Valencia. He did have the key assist in that match, however.
Arda Turan (Atletico Madrid)
Turan has been spectacular in every match he's played this season and deserves recognition as one of the best players in Spain.
Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)
The Spaniard has been Real's best player through three matches and the only consistent bright spot from their first three matches of the 2012-2013 campaign.
Falcao (Atletico Madrid)
If non-league games were taken into account, Falcao would clearly be on the starting XI. He has become arguably the best No. 9 in football and looks set for a monster year.
Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid)
If Alonso has been Madrid's best player, Higuain has been second-best. He is the only player to have scored in three different matches this season and is making it hard for Karim Benzema to retake his starting spot.
Here is how the best starting XI would line up.
Please leave your comments and opinions below to let us know what changes you would have made and who you thought was more deserving of a place on this list.
How many of these players do you expect to see again on La Liga's monthly starting XI?
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