The big news in Spain this week was the throbbing vein in Cristiano Ronaldo's neck—it hadn't been seen pulsing quite like that since his last goal from a free kick, against the same opposition and goalkeeper, back in April.
While Real Madrid returned to winning ways against city rival Atletico, extending its winning streak to 23 matches over the past 13 years, Barcelona continued its march to what is known in Spain as the "winter championship" with a thumping 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao. Leo Messi scored a brace to move to within one goal of Gerd Muller's record in a calendar year of 85 strikes, while Tito Vilanova's team smashed the record of Real Madrid in 1990-91 for the best start to a Liga season.
A two-horse race, then? Not exactly. Or at least not yet.
Atletico still sits five points clear of Real, but travels to Barcelona in a couple weeks, when that margin will probably be reduced by a further three points.
Valencia's 2-5 home loss to Real Sociedad was enough for the club to dispense with Mauricio Pellegrino, with the Argentinian claiming that the team had sacked him out of fear (Spanish language). " Of relegation? With Valencia's financial problems? I'm sure they are.
Here's the Liga XI of the week, based purely on performance.
"Moya saved us," said Luis Garcia Plaza (Spanish language) of his goalkeeper after Getafe kept a marauding Malaga at bay in the Colosseum. Another three points for the unfashionable club from southern Madrid lifted El Geta into sixth in the league table.
In the match, Moya stopped everything Malaga—which stuck four past Valencia last week—could throw at him for a fourth clean sheet this campaign.
Getafe has conceded just 17 this season and Moya is just one of a raft of Spanish keepers unlucky enough to have crossed careers with Iker Casillas.
Real vice captain Ramos is rapidly turning into one of the best center halves in the world, having been moved inside from the right back slot by Jose Mourinho.
During Saturday's derby against Atletico he had Falcao in his pocket and Diego Costa in his face as he kept both out of harm's way in a practically impeccable performance.
It took Barcelona a little longer than expected to open the scoring against Athletic, and when it did it was Pique who found the net with a poacher's strike.
The Mango model has been the subject of criticism, including from Pep Guardiola, for his off-field lifestyle—but let's be honest, if you've got Shakira waiting for you at home it's probably easy to get distracted.
Returning from a few niggling injuries, Pique has shorn up a back four that was leaking goals in his absence and is chipping at the other end.
Osasuna has recovered from its early-season slump to lift itself out of the relegation places.
Alejandro Arribas was playing at Navalcarnero, a regional semi-pro team and officially the worst in Madrid last season just three years ago. Then Pepe Mel plucked him from obscurity at Rayo B and the rest is recent history.
Arribas' assured performances for Osasuna have lent the team some backbone and he was instrumental in shutting out his former side at the weekend.
Despite Arda Turan's isolation in the Bernabeu due to a pre-game injury to his left-sided partner Filipe Luis, another reason the Turkish trickster was muted is Spain full back Alvaro Arbeloa.
Brought back from Liverpool for peanuts, Arbeloa was originally understudy to Ramos but has now made the berth for club and country his own.
As well as defensive solidity, he displayed his attacking skills on Saturday night, wreaking havoc down Atletico's left and constantly dragging Cata Diaz out of position.
A stunning goal from a free-kick. A team performance lauded by Emilio Butragueno. Two rattles of the woodwork late on as he sought to kill off the game. A reaction assist for Mesut Ozil's goal.
"It was a fantastic night for us," said the Portuguese winger (Spanish language) after arguably his best game of the season.
"Play it again, Cristiano," screamed the headline in a pro-Real daily (Spanish language).
The Bernabeu will want more of the same as the hunt for the 10th European Cup goes on, even if the league may now be beyond Real.
The German midfielder also put in his best performance of the season on Saturday after being hauled off at half time in Real's loss to Betis.
Ozil has been criticized for his form this season but its disappearance has coincided with the whole team's slump. The Wizard was back in the Bernabeu and received a standing ovation when he was substituted late on.
What a difference a week can make in this game.
The Real Sociedad number 10 is one of the most underrated player in the league, probably because he is also a one-club man.
In La Real's rout of Valencia, Prieto was at the heart of everything going forward, chalked up a couple of assists and generally ran Los Che's back line ragged.
Many "bigger" clubs have made offers for Prieto down the years and it is refreshing to see a player who grew up knocking balls about on the beach in San Sebastian still dedicated to his home town club.
Ruben Castro might have done most of the scoring for Betis against Deportivo, but Joel Campbell sealed the game and three points that lifted Betis into the Champions League places.
Depor's Riki had pulled two back for the host but Campbell settled things with this cracker.
Betis is on a roll after defeating Real Madrid last weekend and Campbell was not exaggerating when he said after the match that Betis is European material this season. (Agencies)
Simply put, without Soldado's goals, Valencia would be in a lot more trouble than it is now.
The Spain forward added another pair to his season's tally but it wasn't enough to save his manager, Mauricio Pellegrino, who was sacked after the game.
Soldado told a press conference (Spanish language): "We haven't been able to live up to our coach or the shirt."
Just unplayable. Messi has 20 league goals to his name already this season and, as is well documented, stands on the cusp of breaking Gerd Muller's 1974 record of 85 strikes to a calendar year.
Andres Iniesta may well lift the FIFA Player of the Year trophy in January as a sort of lifetime achievement award but there will be few eyebrows raised if Messi wins for an unprecedented fourth successive year.
His two goals against Athletic were just what's expected of him: another day in the office.