La Liga Weekly Power Rankings: Round 5

Michael CernaCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2012

La Liga Weekly Power Rankings: Round 5

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    Matchday 5 in La Liga gave us plenty of surprises and lots of drama.
    Valencia were beaten by Mallorca who proved to be more of a force than most people gave them credit for.
    Malaga dropped two points to Athletic Bilbao and dropped out of second place.
    Sevilla won a close battle against Deportivo.
    This all goes without mentioning Real Madrid and Barcelona, both of whom walked away with all three points.
    How does all of this affect my Weekly Power Rankings? Read on to find out.

    The rankings are based on current form, recent results, fitness and mentality. They are not simply a copy of the league table.

    If a team is in 10th place, for example, that means that all nine teams ahead of them could and would probably be expected to beat that team if they were to play right now.

20. Osasuna

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    Current Standing: 20

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Recent Results: Loss 1-3 Real Zaragoza

    This is just getting embarrassing now. When a team's hope is to get their first win before October, you know they're in big trouble.

    Looking at their upcoming schedule, it would not be shocking at all to see Los Rojillos go without a win until at least November.

    Last week's draw with Mallorca gave a glimmer of hope for Gorritxoak fans, but it seems playing against 10 men had a bigger impact than initially thought.

19. Espanyol

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    Current Standing: 19

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Recent Results: Loss: 0-1 Real Betis

    Another match, another loss, another red card for Espanyol.

    At this point, we have to assume it's more than just bad luck or poor refereeing. When earning red cards becomes a habit, it's a character problem.

    Los Periquitos have only managed a single point this season. And this for a club that had aspirations of playing in the Europa League next season.

    It doesn't get any easier when Atletico Madrid roll into Barcelona next weekend.

18. Granada

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    Current Standing: 18

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Recent Results: Loss 0-2 Barcelona

    El Graná gave a valiant effort against mighty Barcelona and held them scoreless for almost 90 minutes before a Xavi wonder strike did them in. But let's remember two key points here.

    1. Granada will not always play with 10 men near the box to stop opposing attackers.
    2. Toño will not always do his best Iker Casillas impression.

    While the loss was pretty close, we have to remember that Los Filipinos have still only scored two goals this season. That simply won't cut it in Spain.

17. Real Zaragoza

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    Current Standing: 12

    Previous Ranking: 19

    Recent Results: Win 3-1 Osasuna

    Congratulations, Zaragoza. We now know you aren't the worst team in the league. Going into their match with Osasuna, we just weren't sure about Los Blanquillos.

    Of course, beating the worst team in Spain doesn't inspire much confidence either, especially when their first win came against the second-worst team in the league.

    They may currently be in 12th place, but I think that's the closest Los Maños will get to the top 10 this season.

16. Getafe

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    Current Standing: 17

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Recent Results: Loss 1-2 Celta Vigo

    Someone, anyone, please explain to me what is happening in Madrid.

    Barely a month ago Los Azulones looked like giant killers when they knocked off the reigning champs.

    Since then, El Geta have yet to get a win. While losing to Barcelona is never anything to be ashamed of, getting outplayed by two teams who were just promoted is worrying.

    Getafe play Mallorca next in what I see as a potential upset and then get Zaragoza at home. That gives them a fine chance to get back near mid-table.

15. Deportivo La Coruña

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    Current Standing: 10

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Recent Results: Loss 0-2 Sevilla

    Another tough loss at home for the newly relegated side as Sevilla managed to score two goals in the last 15 minutes of play.

    The match was pretty close throughout and this was Depor's first loss of the season. But their only win came against hapless Osasuna.

    Still, the offense continued to struggle and they may not score another goal until next month's Galician derby since they play Real Madrid, Rayo Vallecano, and Barcelona over the next three weeks.

14. Valladolid

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    Current Standing: 13

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Recent Results: Loss 1-2 Atletico Madrid

    La Pucela may have lost their last three matches, but watching those matches gives a bit more insight than the results themselves.

    The first loss came against an ornery Bilbao team that was desperate for a win. The next two losses were against Real Betis and Atletico Madrid—the fifth and sixth-placed teams in La Liga.

    Their next handful of matches are much more winnable and will be a better litmus test of what to expect from Valladolid this season.

13. Athletic Bilbao

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    Current Standing: 16

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Recent Results: Draw 1-1 Ironi Kiryat Shmona; Draw 0-0 Malaga

    Los Leones are finally getting over their early-season struggles and finally managed a clean sheet—against a top-3 club nonetheless.

    It seems that stability in the roster can go a long way in calming a club. Athletic Club have yet to lose a game since the transfer window ended.

    The Basques have a strong, but winnable next few games which could see them climb the tables. A top 6 finish could be in order after all.

12. Valencia

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    Current Standing: 15

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Recent Results: Loss 1-2 Bayern Munich; Loss 0-2 Mallorca

    I hate to make excuses for poor play, especially when a team wins just one of its first five games. But if any team in the league deserves a bit of a mulligan, it's Los Che.

    Last year's third-place team has had a much tougher first month than they anticipated. Couple that with their numerous key injuries and we have a recipe for disaster.

    The two matches against Real Madrid and Barcelona were always going to be tough, but few could have known that they would be out-matched by Mallorca.

    Let's give Valencia another couple of weeks before we write their chances of a top-3 off.

11. Real Sociedad

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    Current Standing: 14

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Recent Results: Loss 1-2 Levante

    The Txuri-urdin have been solid all season long and two of their three loses have come against top-3 sides.

    They are undefeated at home, but have yet to get a point away from Anoete. Those troubles on the road will cost them dearly this season if Erreala can't get it remedied soon.

    Even their flawless home record will be in danger when Athletic Bilbao head to San Sebastian for the Basque derby this weekend.

10. Celta Vigo

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    Current Standing: 11

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Recent Results: Win 2-1 Getafe

    With a midfield consisting of Borja Oubiña, Michael Krohn-Delhi, and Iago Aspas, it is not surprising to see the Galician side doing so well.

    The newly-promoted club is one of the most enjoyable club to watch in the whole league when on their game.

    They are about to start a very difficult part of their schedule so let's see where Os Celestes stand in a month.

9. Levante

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    Current Standing: 9

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Recent Results: Win 1-0 Helsingborg; Win 2-1 Real Sociedad

    So far we've learned two things about Levante this season.

    1. They have tons of heart.

    They took points from Atletico Madrid to start the season and then came back from 2-0 to win by a goal against Espanyol. Last weekend Los Granotes staged a late comeback against Real Sociedad.

    2. What they don't have is consistency. They play like like giants one week and midgets the next. They followed up their dramatic comeback against Espanyol with a huge loss at the hands of Malaga.

    Which Levante will show up most often this season?

8. Rayo Vallecano

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    Current Standing: 8

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Recent Results: Loss 0-2 Real Madrid

    After such a fine start to the season, a difficult schedule has seen Rayo go through a rough patch in the last three weeks.

    They started with a draw against Sevilla before the break and then dropped two straight match to Atletico and Real Madrid.

    While going winless in three matches is always disappointing, knowing who the opponents were will provide some comfort to the team.

7. Real Madrid

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    Current Standing: 7

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Recent Results: Win 3-2 Manchester City; Win 2-0 Rayo Vallecano

    A very emotional, dramatic win against the reigning champions should see them get hot and string a few wins together.

    Their victory over Rayo was incredibly uneven and pretty disappointing overall, but they got the win and that's what matters most.

    Their next two matches are winnable, but a Clasico on October 7th will be in their sights by this weekend.

6. Real Betis

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    Current Standing: 6

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Recent Results: Win 1-0 Espanyol

    Only Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have scored more goals this season and Los Verdiblancos are two for two away from Benito Villamarín.

    The next five days will show us who Betis really are as they welcome Atletico Madrid to Sevilla on Wednesday before heading to Malaga this Saturday.

5. Mallorca

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    Current Standing: 2

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Recent Results: Win 2-0 Valencia

    Huge win over Los Che, but the loss of Javi Marquez could be the bigger story. I'm still not buying it, though.

    Yes, they have given up the third-fewest goals in the league, but that is not the only stat that matters.

    Los Bermellones have allowed the most shots in Spain and have spent more time in their own half than any team in La Liga , according to WhoScored's Kieran Canning..

    I hate to be pessimistic, but I see Mallorca's run ending rather soon. Their October 20th clash against Sevilla is setting up to be a blockbuster.

4. Malaga

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    Current Standing: 3

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Recent Results: Win 3-0 Zenit; Draw 0-0 Athletic Bilbao

    This week perfectly shows us what to expect from Malaga this season.

    As they showed against Zenit St. Petersburg, Los Bolquerones can hang with the best of Europe at full strength.

    Isco was named the continent's best player in the first round of Champions League matches and the team was unstoppable against the reigning champions of Russia.

    But then the weekend came and the crowded fixture list started wearing on the players as they could only manage a draw against Athletic Bilbao and were really outplayed at San Mames.

    This team has loads of talent, but is short on depth and that will likely cost them eventually.

    The biggest news for Malaga is the loss of Jeremy Toulalan to a thigh injury. Last year his absence cost them a third-place finish. This season they could fall out of the top 6 if he misses significant time.

3. Sevilla

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    Current Standing: 4

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Recent Results: Win 2-0 Deportivo

    Another great win against a tough side with Cicinho again looking like La Liga's signing of the season.

    Sevilla are not playing their best football, but are still getting results. More is needed from Negredo in attack, but his inconsistent play is almost signature at this point.

    Sets up an epic battle against Barcelona next weekend with two undefeated sides squaring off and history on the line for Barcelona.

2. Atletico Madrid

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    Current Standing: 5

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Recent Results: Win 3-0 Hapoel; Win 2-1 Valladolid

    If Diego Simeone had started last season in charge of this team, they'd be in the Champions League right now.

    Los Rojiblancos have now won a record 14 straight matches in Europe. They have been as good as any team in football over the last month.

1. Barcelona

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    Current Standing: 1

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Recent Results: Win 3-2 Spartak Moscow; Win 2-0 Granada

    Watching Xavi score the winner in the 87th minute reminded fans of the drama and heroics that were missing last season.

    A year ago, La Blaugrana likely drop points in this match. This season, they're a perfect five for five and haven't even hit their stride yet.

    With one more win, Barcelona will be off to their best league start in history, matching the 2009/10, 1997/98, 1990/91 and 1929/30 seasons.

    Unfortunately for Cules, it is Sevilla who stand in their way next weekend. Do not miss this match, people!

     

    Please check out my Weekly La Liga Review for Round 5 where I discuss the biggest stories and best players from this week in Spain.