La Liga Table 2013 Week 11: Updated Standings Following Matchday 10
The 10th week of the La Liga season proved to be an exciting one from start to finish.
La Liga Matchday 10 started off with Real Valladolid's 3-0 win over Rayo Vallecano on Friday. It was an odd match, as Rayo dominated possession. According to WhoScored, they had 71 percent of the ball, which is a pretty significant number.
However, Rayo got just four of their 17 shots on target, compared to six and nine, respectively, for Valladolid.
It just goes to show you that possession means nothing if you can't finish off your chances.
Friday's match was just the start of what should be a thrilling weekend in La Liga.
The main event was El Clasico on Saturday, the first of the season. Barcelona vs. Real Madrid is always must-see television for any football fan, and the additions of Neymar for Barca and Gareth Bale for Madrid have added a new dimension to the rivalry.
Neymar proved to be the bigger difference-maker on Saturday, scoring the first goal of the match (19').
Alexis Sanchez provided some cushion for Barca after a nasty chip in the 78th minute, effectively sealing the win.
Jese put Real Madrid on the scoreboard in stoppage time, but it was too little too late. Barcelona earned bragging rights in the rivalry and retained first place in La Liga with the win.
*Note: Highlighted teams are in the relegation zone.
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These three fixtures will likely have the biggest impact on the table after this weekend is over.
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
No two matches are more heavily anticipated in Spain than the Clasicos between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Some would argue this is more than a football match. It's a battle for the soul of football.
On one side, you've got Madrid, for so long the symbol of money and power winning out in football. Whether it's the perceived "theft" of Ferenc Puskas in the late 1950s, the reign of Francisco Franco or the transfers of Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, etc., Los Blancos have forever remained the perfect foil for their Catalan counterparts.
On the other side, you've got Barcelona, a club that has come to represent fighting the established order and Catalan nationalism.
In addition, Barca are looked at as playing the game the right way, whether it was Johan Cruyff and Rinus Michels winning the league with Total Football in 1974, Cruyff's "Dream Team" winning the European Cup in 1992 in the middle of four consecutive league titles or Pep Guardiola's side rampaging through Europe with an ease and flair rarely seen before.
In short, this is a big match.
This fixture was made all the more important after Barcelona's 0-0 draw against Osasuna last week. After Madrid beat Malaga, they moved to within three points of Barca.
A win for Real Madrid and they pull level on points with Barcelona, which would be huge. A loss and Barca go six points clear, which may not sound like much, but in Spain—where the top two rarely drop points—that's a huge hole for Los Blancos early in the season.
Villarreal vs. Valencia
What a season it's been for Villarreal so far. The Yellow Submarine were relegated in 2011/12 but promoted back to La Liga last year. Now they're sitting fourth in the table.
Four spots below Villarreal sit Valencia. During the past four seasons, the top four became a steady home for Los Che, but they were looking up at a glass ceiling. As good as Valencia have been, they've never come close to challenging for the title. Things have only gotten worse since Unai Emery left after the 2011/12 season.
After a slow start to the season, Valencia have turned things around a bit, winning three of their last five league matches.
This could, arguably, be the most entertaining match of the weekend. Big fixtures like El Clasico often turn into dull affairs because both sides cancel each other out.
Neither Villarreal nor Valencia are going to play negatively. They both see this match as an opportunity to claim three big points against a top club. The game should be open, with at least three to four goals between the two teams.
Getafe vs. Athletic Bilbao
Getafe have been one of the biggest surprises in La Liga this season. After a 10th-place finish last year, they climbed up to fifth and are just one point behind Villarreal. Winning each of their last four matches, Getafe are coming into this fixture on a great run of form.
Athletic Bilbao are level on points with Getafe but behind on goal differential. Fans who remember the side that reached the Europa League final in 2012 probably wouldn't recognize the Bilbao of 2013/14. Gone is Marcelo Bielsa and a few of the key players on that European run. Make no mistake, though, as Bilbao is still a talented team.
This match should be a good clash of styles.
Getafe are used to staying back in their own half and letting the opponent control possession. Then they'll break on the counter. Bilbao, on the other hand, are at their best when they have the ball.
It will be interesting to see if Bilbao can break through that Getafe back line, or whether being on the attack will leave Los Leones exposed and vulnerable to a quick goal.
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