Real Madrid and Valencia Losses Shake Up Latest La Liga Power Rankings
The defending champions fell and might have ended their title defense, while their arch-rivals completed the best start in league history.
Last year's third-placed team got walloped by a team that has been in a crisis since June, and Espanyol probably played their last match under the current regime.
Atletico trounced Sevilla to set up the biggest game of the season this weekend and perhaps their only chance of catching Barcelona in the league title race.
My latest power rankings reflect some massive power shifts in La Liga by looking at factors including recent results, team unity, standing and current form and fitness.
Mid-November Power Ranking: 16
League Standing: 20
Recent Results: Loss 2-0 vs. Getafe, Loss 2-1 vs. Valencia, Loss 3-0 vs. Osasuna
Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly on the verge of being sacked and no one can objectively say it isn't deserved.
Espanyol are now dead last in the league with just nine points won this season. So far Los Periquitos have more than three times as many red cards—seven—as they do wins this season.
Mid-November Power Ranking: 20
League Standing: 16
Recent Results: Loss 2-0 vs. Rayo Vallecano, Draw 1-1 vs. Celta Vigo, Loss 4-2 vs. Barcelona
Poor Mallorca were just three minutes from earning a point in Vallacas before Leo Baptistao stole the win at the last moment.
Joaquin Caparros' job is apparently safe for now, but even a manager as great as him may not avoid the axe if Mallorca don't end their eight-game skid soon.
Mid-November Power Ranking: 19
League Standing: 17
Recent Results: Draw 1-1 vs. Athletic Bilbao, Loss 2-0 vs. Levante, Loss 5-3 vs. Zaragoza
Abdel Aguilar saved a much-needed point for Depor against Athletic Bilbao, but the Galicians still have a lot of work to do if they are to stay in the first division.
Mid-November Power Ranking: 14
League Standing: 18
One win in six games, a league-worst 11 goals scored and spinning wheels in the relegation zone.
Granada are in trouble and look to waste a fine summer transfer window with a season-long relegation battle.
16. Real Zaragoza
Mid-November Power Ranking: 4
League Standing: 13
Recent Results: Loss 1-0 vs. Celta Vigo, Loss 3-1 vs. Barcelona, Win 5-3 vs. Deportivo
After such a fantastic month of October that saw them become one of the hottest teams in Spain, Zaragoza have fizzled off and lost three of their last four.
In those three losses, Los Blanquillos were out-scored 8-1. Can they turn it around against a hapless Mallorca?
15. Celta Vigo
Mid-November Power Ranking: 18
League Standing: 15
Recent Results: Win 1-0 vs. Zaragoza, Draw 1-1 vs. Mallorca, Loss 3-2 vs. Rayo Vallecano
Iago Aspas once again carried his team over a bottom-half team, earning Celta their first win since October 5.
The incredible 25-year-old may be snatched up in the next few months and that could spell the end of the Galician club's time in the first division.
Mid-November Power Ranking: 17
League Standing: 19
Recent Results: Draw 0-0 vs. Real Sociedad, Draw 0-0 Malaga, Win 3-0 vs. Espanyol
Osasuna may still be in 19th place, but they've taken huge strides forward in the last month.
They've earned as many points in their last three matches—five—as they had in the 10 previous outings.
Los Rojillos have also not allowed a goal in almost a month. Let's see if they can keep that up against Rayo this weekend.
Mid-November Power Ranking: 11
League Standing: 8
Recent Results: Loss 4-0 vs. Malaga, Win 2-1 vs. Espanyol, Draw 1-1 vs. Valladolid
Valencia were completely man-handled by Malaga in every facet of the game and may have just played their way out of Champions League qualification.
Los Che once again proved completely incapable of scoring without Roberto Soldado and the service provided for any striker has been sub-par at best.
The club needs to seriously consider taking Joan Verdu from last-placed Espanyol this January.
Mid-November Power Ranking: 13
League Standing: 10
Recent Results: Loss 4-0 vs. Atletico Madrid, Win 5-1 vs. Real Betis, Loss 2-1 vs. Athletic Bilbao
Federico Fazio's red card partially robbed fans of what was billed the match of the weekend, but Emir Spahic would probably have seen red anyway.
In consecutive weeks we saw the very best and absolute worst of Los Rojiblancos' game. It is that inconsistency that will probably keep them out of Europe again next season.
11. Athletic Bilbao
Mid-November Power Ranking: 7
League Standing: 14
Recent Results: Draw 1-1 vs. Deportivo, Loss 5-1 vs. Real Madrid, Win 2-1 vs. Sevilla
Markel Susaeta gave one of the league's best individual performances this season, but it proved not to be enough for the Lions.
Not even a rare start from Fernando Llorente could take advantage of the league's worst defense and the Basques were left wanting yet again.
10. Real Sociedad
Mid-November Power Ranking: 11
League Standing: 12
Recent Results: Draw 0-0 vs. Osasuna, Win 4-0 vs. Rayo Vallecano, Win 2-1 vs. Malaga
La Real followed up a four-goal blitz with a complete dud against 19th-placed Osasuna.
Consistency is hard for the Basques to maintain, but they really exemplify how crowded the Europa League fight is this season.
9. Rayo Vallecano
Mid-November Power Ranking: 9
League Standing: 8
Recent Results: Win 2-0 vs. Mallorca, Loss 4-0 vs. Real Sociedad, Win 3-2 vs. Celta Vigo
It continues to baffle me that Rayo can have the most goals allowed in the entire league, but still be one win away from Champions League qualification.
The great play from Leo Baptistao is a major reason for that. Los Vallecanos have been the comeback kings of La Liga this season, quite surprisingly.
Mid-November Power Ranking: 10
League Standing: 9
Recent Results: Win 1-0 vs. Granada, Loss 2-1 vs. Getafe, Draw 1-1 vs. Valencia
La Pucela continue to surprise as the best of La Liga's newly promoted teams and kept right in the Europa League fight with a win over Granada.
Outside of the top four it is Valladolid who have the best goal differential in Spain.
Mid-November Power Ranking: 15
League Standing: 7
Recent Results: Win 2-0 vs. Espanyol, Win 2-1 vs. Valladolid, Loss 2-0 vs. Atletico Madrid
Whoa, where did they come from? Blink and you may have missed Getafe's climb from 16th place to seventh in just two weeks.
El Geta have now won five of their last eight and all three losses in that span came against a team in the top 6.
Mid-November Power Ranking: 6
League Standing: 6
Recent Results: Loss 4-0 vs. Barcelona, Win 2-0 vs. Deportivo, Loss 2-1 vs. Real Madrid
Levante did a fabulous job of stopping Barcelona for 45 minutes, but a perfect second-half performance from Andres Iniesta turned a close contest into a route in almost no time.
Still, the Frogs have lost only two matches in the last two months and those came against Barcelona and Real Madrid.
5. Real Madrid
Mid-November Power Ranking: 2
League Standing: 3
Recent Results: Loss 1-0 vs. Betis, Win 5-1 vs. Athletic Bilbao, Win 2-1 vs. Levante
Jose Mourinho now has his team in a position that has never been overcome before—11 points behind Barcelona in the league title race.
One loss to Betis is nothing to be ashamed of, but the poor rotation and a seemingly disjointed team is.
Let's see how the champs respond in the Madrid Derby next week.
4. Real Betis
Mid-November Power Ranking: 5
League Standing: 5
Recent Results: Win 1-0 vs. Real Madrid, Loss 5-1 vs. Sevilla, Loss 2-1 vs. Rayo Vallecano
Mid-November Power Ranking: 12
League Standing: 4
Recent Results: Win 4-0 vs. Valencia, Draw 0-0 vs. Osasuna, Loss 2-1 vs. Real Sociedad
There were three 4-0 results this weekend, but none were as completely one-sided from first whistle to last as Malaga's romp over Los Che.
Manuel Pellegrini's men ended their four game winless streak in style and are back in a Champions League spot.
2. Atletico Madrid
Mid-November Power Ranking: 3
League Standing: 2
Recent Results: Win, 4-0 vs. Sevilla, Win 1-0 vs. Granada, Win 2-0 vs. Getafe
Falcao ended his scoreless streak, Filipe Luis neutralized Jesus Navas and Atletico Madrid demolished Sevilla in a four-goal shutout.
Los Colchoneros benefited from a early, harsh red card to Federico Fazio, but with Emir Spahic unfairly avoiding a sending off just minutes later, the result proved rather fair in the end.
Saturday's Madrid Derby is now set up to be the biggest match of the season.
Mid-November Power Ranking: 1
League Standing: 1
Recent Results: Win 4-0 vs. Levante, Win 3-1 vs. Zaragoza, Win 4-2 vs. Mallorca
Tito Vilanova has won 12 of his first 13 games in charge of Barcelona and is now off to the best start in league history. When will his team lose?
Lionel Messi is three goals away from Gerd Mueller's record for goals in a calendar year and La Blaugrana's central defense is fully fit for the first time all year.
Please also check out my La Liga Best 11 for this week.