La Liga Team of the Week—Matchday 13

Michael CernaCorrespondent INovember 26, 2012

La Liga Team of the Week—Matchday 13

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    Three 4-0 blowouts, nine clean sheets and the defending champions potentially knocked out of the title race.

    That's what La Liga fans were treated to this weekend, and it is players from those games who feature in this week's best starting XI in Spain.

    There were some players who were almost unbreakable at the back, a few who were as unplayable in midfield and one who played as perfect a half as can be played.

    After reading through the list, I hope you will leave your thoughts and comments, and tell us who you thought deserved a mention or was unworthy of a place on this list.


    Note: All referenced statistics courtesy of

Adrian—K (Real Betis)

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    Poor Real Madrid. If only they had gotten to face the same Adrian who allowed five goals against Sevilla the week before.

    The former academy star put on a man of the match performance as he saved eight shots, three that were world class, and kept one of the greatest attacking teams in football without a goal.

    Adrian played perhaps the best game of his career and handed Madrid with their second loss in Seville this season while also potentially ending their title hopes.

    All in a day's work, I guess.

Mane—Defender (Getafe)

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    On the wrong side of 30, but still kicking. Jose Mane is going to be 31 in less than a month, but age certainly didn't have any effect on him this weekend.

    The left-back was part of the most impenetrable flank in La Liga when he and Alexis Delgado acted as a brick wall against Espanyol in Barcelona.

    Mane scored the clinching goal and was generously credited with an early assist, but his defensive play was equally impressive.

    Seven times he dispossessed Espanyol's right-sided attack and added a trio of tackles and interceptions as well.

    His central partner was even more impressive.

Alexis—Defender (Getafe)

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    Sevilla would certainly have loved to have their loaned center-back recalled this weekend.

    While Michel almost lost both center-backs to red cards against Atletico, Alexis was having a man of the match type of game for Getafe.

    Espanyol never even had a chance to score with Alexis playing the way he did in the box.

    The 27-year-old finished the game with five tackles, six interceptions, a block and a nearly unheard of 17 clearances all by himself.

    Espanyol may not have any world class strikers, but I'm not sure anyone could have gotten by Alexis and Mane this weekend.

Filipe Luis—Defender (Atletico Madrid)

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    La Liga's best left-back gave another fine performance against a weakened Sevilla.

    Filipe Luis nearly scored one goal, was robbed of a second chance by a rare poor touch and gave Falcao countless chances to score with his crossing and through balls.

    Most impressive, though, was the Brazilian's defense.

    Sevilla were at a huge disadvantage after going down to 10 men, but that shouldn't take away from a night where Luis made the great Jesus Navas look pedestrian for 90 minutes.

    From box to box, Atleti's elite left-back was near his dominant best this weekend and deserves to recognized for that.

Jeremy Toulalan—Midfielder (Malaga)

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    With Ignacio Camacho staying in top form and Jeremy Toulalan now back to full fitness, Malaga have arguably the best double-pivot in the league.

    The pair were phenomenal against Valencia with the two switching off and killing every attack Valencia tried.

    In the end, Los Che failed to get a single shot on goal until the 87th minute with Toulalan and his partner completely dominating the midfield and destroying Valencia's attacking four.

    There were three games that finished 4-0, but none were more lopsided from start to finish than Malaga's win at La Rosaleda.

Beñat—Midfielder (Real Betis)

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    I discussed just how great Betis' double-pivot was against Real Madrid in my post-match review. In short, they were the key to Los Beticos' victory—along with Adrian.

    Beñat Etxebarria and Jose Alberto Cañas were superb against the reigning champions and out-performed the likes of Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira—a very rare feat indeed.

    Cañas was incredible at the back end of the double-pivot, but it was Beñat who proved the most vital player on the pitch.

    He had to work extremely hard to win and then get time on the ball, and he did a great job of creating and directing counters whenever it was won.

    He also scored the game-winning goal with a blast from outside the box that left Iker Casillas with no chance of stopping it.

Portillo—Midfielder (Malaga)

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    Outside of Barcelona, no team in Spain has been able to consistently produce midfield talent like Malaga over the last two seasons.

    First Camacho broke out in the absence of Jeremy Toulalan, and now Francisco Portillo is helping form one of the two most dangerous attacking midfield trios in Primera Division.

    Against Valencia, Portillo was magical on the left-flank as he abused Antonio Barragan all night.

    He forced Los Che's rightward defense to make 24 total clearances on the night and the opener before laying one off for Javier Saviola in the second half.

Andres Iniesta—Midfielder (Barcelona)

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    Levante held Barcelona to a 0-0 draw for the first 45 minutes of their match in Valencia.

    Unfortunately for Los Granotes, Andres Iniesta came out of the break at his absolute best—and when Don Andres is at that level, he is completely unplayable.

    Iniesta was responsible for all four of Barça's goals as he played a perfect football match.

    He set up both of Lionel Messi's goals—the first with a defense-splitting pass and the second with some elegant footwork that cleared just enough space for the No. 10 to score from a tough angle.

    The 28-year-old then scored one of the best goals of the weekend before putting Cesc Fabregas through for a fourth.

    Messi added to his historic record which could lead him to another Ballon d'Or, but Andres Iniesta once again proved to be the best attacking midfielder in football.

Markel Susaeta—Midfielder (Athletic Bilbao)

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    If there are any young football players trying to understand what a winger's job is on the pitch, go watch what Markel Susaeta did against Deportivo this weekend.

    The 24-year-old was one of the absolute best players in Europe this weekend but won't get any credit because of the final score and the team he plays for.

    Susaeta finished his match with 15 crosses sent in for Fernando Llorente, four long balls that connected and an insane nine key passes that nearly led to goals.

    The Spaniard did everything that could be asked of him, and he really deserves more recognition for a truly fantastic performance.

Leo—Forward (Rayo Vallecano)

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    Is this guy really only 20 years old? For all the talk surrounding Isco this season, it is Rayo's Leo Baptistao who has been the best young player in Spain so far.

    The first-year star scored his sixth goal of the season against Mallorca, this one coming in the 87th minute and proving to be the winner.

    As if having the poise needed to score a game-winner wasn't impressive enough, the young Brazilian added an assist just minutes later as Piti scored the clincher.

    Keep an eye on this kid, folks.

Lionel Messi—Forward (Barcelona)

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    After 13 weeks of play, there has been nothing more intimidating than welcoming Lionel Messi to a foreign stadium.

    Usually players do a bit worse away from home, but the reigning Ballon d'Or winner has been almost unstoppable away from Camp Nou.

    This again rang true against Levante, as Messi dedicated two more goals to his son Thiago and is now just three goals shy of Gerd Muller's record of 85 scored in a calendar year.

    The Argentinian will be aiming for 90 before the year is over and teams may start finding ways to prevent him from even entering their grounds.


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    Victor Valdes—K (Barcelona)
    Barça's No. 1 made one of the stops of the season with this double save from a penalty that earned him a clean sheet against Levante.

    Nacho—D (Rayo Vallecano)
    Earned the assist that broke the deadlock in the dying minutes and completely shut his flank down. Stellar performance from the full-back.

    Carlos Martinez—D (Real Sociedad)
    Martinez was the best right-back in Spain this weekend and the main reason La Real kept a clean sheet against Osasuna.

    Ander—M (Athletic Bilbao)
    The former Zaragoza star was a joy to watch as he engined Bilbao with 117 touches and six crosses.

    Koke—M (Atletico Madrid)
    The 20-year-old looked like a seasoned veteran as he completed a league-high 93 percent of his passes and scored a sleek goal in Atleti's hammering of Sevilla.

    Isco—M (Malaga)
    He co-led the team in shots, added a cool goal himself and his partnership with Portillo and Joaquin was the best of the weekend.

    Manucho—S (Real Valladolid)
    The 29-year-old scored the winner against Granada, but could have had a hat trick if not for a couple of nice saves from Toño.