La Liga Weekly Power Rankings: Round 6
Wow, now La Liga is officially underway!
I've always said that Spain's Primera division is one of the most balanced leagues in the world, but the two-horse title race masked that incredible parity.
The current tables prove my point, though. There are countless teams that could be placed within a range of 3-8 spots on this list.
The bottom half of the table has shifted big time and the teams included in the relegation battle seem to change every week.
In the middle of the table, there are no less than eight teams with a realistic chance of getting a Europa League spot, not including the other top four teams.
There are also around eight or nine teams that could legitimately challenge for a top four spot.
The title race will likely end up a two-horse race again, but the rest of the league is very unpredictable.
Read on to see proof of this in my Match Day 6, power rankings.
Previous Ranking: 19
Latest Results: Loss 0-1 vs. Atletico Madrid, Home
After entering the season with dreams of a top six finish, Espanyol have earned just a single point as we enter October.
Hey, at least Los Periquitos didn't get a red card against Atletico!
19. Rayo Vallecano
Previous Ranking: 8
Latest Results: Loss 1-6 vs. Valladolid, Away
By far the biggest drop on the list after a third straight loss, Rayo were outscored 12-4 in September.
It seems the early-season honeymoon is over and Los Vallecanos are well on their way to being back in the relegation battle.
Previous Ranking: 20
Latest Results: Win 4-0 vs. Levante, Home
Los Rojillos were desperate for their first win and this one was huge. By far the biggest surprise of the week.
Levante have been inconsistent so Osasuna were always capable of beating them, but doing so by four goals was shocking.
Previous Ranking: 17
Latest Results: Loss 0-2 vs. Valencia, Away
The only points Los Blanquillos have earned were against the two worst teams in Spain. In fact, those are the only two matches they've scored in.
They were held without a goal for the fourth time this season against Valencia, despite being up a man for the last 30 minutes.
Previous Ranking: 15
Latest Results: Loss 1-5 vs. Real Madrid, Away
The past two weeks' losses to Sevilla and Los Merengues were rather expected so it is hard to say Depor are one of the three worst teams based off of those results.
So what about the previous three draws, two to lower-table teams?
Surely the Galicians are better than this and will prove it against Rayo this weekend.
15. Celta Vigo
Previous Ranking: 10
Latest Results: Loss 1-2 vs. Granada, Away
Another superb performance from Iago Aspas failed to stop the Galicians from suffering their fourth match of the season.
Giving up two in the first 20 minutes continues a worrying trend of allowing early goals that needs to be addressed ASAP.
14. Athletic Bilbao
Previous Ranking: 13
Latest Results: Loss 0-2 vs. Real Sociedad, Away
Losing the Basque Derby is always hard to take, but this one will be especially hard to get over given the off-field issues at the club.
After another bust-up with coach Marcelo Bielsa, it looks like Fernando Llorente is just counting down the days until the January transfer window when he can leave Bilbao.
Previous Ranking: 18
Latest Results: Win 2-1 vs. Celta, Home
It seems a hard-fought match against Barcelona was enough to inspire Granada to their first win of the season.
Celta is no easy opponent so these last two results could inspire a decent run in October that starts with a tough match against Mallorca.
Previous Ranking: 9
Latest Results: Loss 0-4 vs. Osasuna, Away
What is happening in Valencia? There is not a more inconsistent team in La Liga this season.
Which Levante is the real one—the team that handles Real Sociedad and matches Atletico Madrid or the team that gets demolished by the worst team in the league?
Previous Ranking: 16
Latest Results: Win 1-0 vs. Mallorca, Home
Diego Castro's goal to give Getafe the upset was huge, but playing with a man advantage after just 10 minutes should have led to a bigger win.
10. Real Betis
Previous Ranking: 6
Latest Results: Loss 0-4 vs. Malaga, Away
Are the wheels coming off in Seville or are Betis just suffering from the hardest part of their schedule?
Los Beticos have now lost two straight, but they came against the second and third-best teams in Spain.
I expect them to get back on track against Real Sociedad and Osasuna.
9. Real Sociedad
Previous Ranking: 11
Latest Results: Win 2-0 vs. Athletic Bilbao, Home
What a big win for the Basques in their first local derby of the season. This one was close from start to finish.
Antoine Griezmann had one of the best games of his career and will need to keep that form up over the next two weeks.
Upcoming fixtures against Real Betis and Atletico Madrid will show us just how good Real Sociedad are.
Previous Ranking: 12
Latest Results: Win 2-0 vs. Zaragoza, Home; Win 2-0 vs. Lille, Home
Los Che have now won two straight and are finally getting healthy for the first time this season.
That does not bode well for the other Spanish teams who are targeting a spot in the top six.
A huge Valencia derby this weekend just adds to the most exciting weekend of La Liga fixtures in the first half of this season.
Previous Ranking: 18
Latest Results: Win 6-1 vs. Rayo Vallecano, Home
Without question, La Pucela are the most enigmatic club in Spain right now. Just how good is this team?
Losing three straight matches was surely discouraging, but playing such tough games against those top teams showed that Valladolid might be better than their standing showed.
After completely embarrassing a Vallecano team that challenged the reigning champs, we are now as confused as ever.
Previous Ranking: 5
Latest Results: Loss 0-1 vs. Getafe, Away
The loss in Madrid was surely disappointing, but allowing just one goal despite being a man down for over 80 minutes should give the Islanders a bit of confidence going forward.
This weekend's match against Granada looks even more enticing now.
5. Real Madrid
Previous Ranking: 7
Latest Results: Win 5-1 vs. Deportivo, Home; Win 4-1 Ajax Away
Look out, Barcelona! This was the last thing Cules wanted to see.
Los Merengues allowed an early goal to the Galicians, but then took control of the match and just dominated Depor.
They now head into El Clasico against a weakened Blaugrana defense and feeling confident again for the first time in weeks.
Previous Ranking: 3
Latest Results: Loss 2-3 vs. Barcelona, Home
I'm no fan of Jose Mourinho and his conspiracy theories, but if he were in charge of Sevilla, he would be going crazy over this one.
Less than a year after referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz cost Los Rojiblancos points against Real Madrid last season, he now may have done the same against Barcelona after a controversial match in Seville.
With Los Nervionenses feeling done in and as motivated as ever, Celta Vigo may have drawn an unlucky hand by being the next team to face Sevilla.
Previous Ranking: 3
Latest Results: Win 4-0 vs. Real Betis, Home; Win 3-0 Anderlecht Away
When will it stop? Surely Malaga have to slow down at some point, right?
Whether or not you're a fan of this team, it is so hard not to lend your support to Los Boquerones.
After dominating one of La Liga's top teams, Malaga are still unbeaten through six games and have only allowed two goals so far.
Their European record is equally impressive as they now top their group win two 3-0 victories.
2. Atletico Madrid
Previous Ranking: 2
Latest Results: Win 1-0 vs. Espanyol, Away; 4-2 vs. Real Betis, Away
They got the win, but allowing Espanyol to get so close to the draw will surely have Diego Simeone nervous.
It seemed like Los Rojiblancos' over-reliance on Falcao was lessening, but their near dud against the Catalans might have proven otherwise.
Previous Ranking: 1
Latest Results: Win 3-2 vs. Sevilla, Away; Win 2-0 Benfica, Away
The Gary Medel red card may have been controversial, but that should not take away from another dramatic comeback for Barcelona.
Tito Vilanova's team has managed to overcome defensive frailties and lots of injuries all season, but the defense may now have reached its breaking point.
After losing Carles Puyol to a dislocated elbow, Barça's defense may not be too frail to stop Real Madrid from putting at least three goals past Victor Valdes this weekend.
If they can somehow overcome these challenges and beat the reigning champs, Barcelona will be off to their greatest start in team history.