La Liga Winners and Losers After Final 2019 Week 9 Table

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistOctober 20, 2019

MALLORCA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Zinedine Zidane, Manager of Real Madrid CF looks on priot to the Liga match between RCD Mallorca and Real Madrid CF at Iberostar Estadi on October 19, 2019 in Mallorca, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona manoeuvred their way back into La Liga's driving seat after they beat Eibar 3-0 in Week 9, while Real suffered their first defeat of the domestic campaign when they lost 1-0 at Mallorca.

Zinedine Zidane struggled to cope with the absences of Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale when Los Blancos dropped from the summit, while Atletico Madrid also dropped points in a 1-1 home draw to 10-man Valencia.

Instead, it's Granada who round out La Liga's top three after they beat Osasuna 1-0 to clinch their fifth victory of the season Friday, a tally Real Sociedad matched following a 3-1 win against Real Betis.

Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao didn't fare as successfully and drew 1-1 at home to Real Valladolid thanks to a goalkeeping gaffe from Unai Simon late in the second half.

Luuk de Jong struck late to give Sevilla a much-needed 1-0 home win against Levante, while Villarreal emerged victorious by the same scoreline at Espanyol to seal their second away win this season.

       

Week 9 Results

Granada 1-0 Osasuna

Eibar 0-3 Barcelona

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Valencia

Getafe 2-0 Leganes

Mallorca 1-0 Real Madrid

Alaves 2-0 Celta Vigo

Real Sociedad 3-1 Real Betis

Espanyol 0-1 Villarreal

Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Real Valladolid

Sevilla 1-0 Levante

      

La Liga Table (Played, Points, Goal Difference)

1. Barcelona: 9, 19 (+13)

2. Real Madrid: 9, 18 (+7)

3. Granada: 9, 17 (+6)

4. Real Sociedad: 9, 16 (+6)

5. Sevilla: 9, 16 (0)

6. Atletico Madrid: 9, 16 (+3)

7. Villarreal: 9, 14 (+7) 

8. Valencia: 9, 13 (+2)

9. Getafe: 9, 13 (+3)

10. Athletic Bilbao: 9, 13 (-1)

11. Levante: 9, 11 (-1)

12. Alaves: 9, 11 (-2)

13. Osasuna: 9, 11 (-1)

14. Real Valladolid: 9, 11 (-1)

15. Mallorca: 9, 10 (-5)

16. Eibar: 9, 9 (-3)

17. Real Betis: 9, 9 (-7)

18. Celta Vigo: 9, 9 (-6)

19. Espanyol: 9, 5 (-11)

20. Leganes: 9, 2 (-10)

Visit Sky Sports to see the table in full.

       

Winner: Ernesto Valverde

As far as season beginnings go when you're Barcelona boss, this has been a fairly difficult one for Ernesto Valverde. Lionel Messi has only played a handful of games due to injury, Antoine Griezmann is still settling following his arrival, and it wasn't long ago the club was tarred for their worst start to a season in 25 years.

But the Blaugrana have now won five in a row, and all was well for Valverde in the win away to Eibar, where forward trio Messi, Griezmann and Luis Suarez each got on the scoresheet.

It was only in September that sportswriter Andy West defended Valverde for the criticism he received following a bad run of Barca form:

Gerard Pique, Ousmane Dembele and Ronald Araujo each missed the trip to Eibar through suspension.  Clement Lenglet returned to partner Samuel Umtiti at centre-back, and all of a sudden, Barca's Liga prospects look much brighter following their return to the summit.

Valverde's side lead La Liga after Week 9 despite the numerous bumps they've encountered in recent months, and this may mark the beginning of a domestic domination unless certain rivals can recover. 

     

Loser: Zinedine Zidane

Real's unbeaten start to this league season came undone at one of the less likely venues Saturday when promoted outfit Mallorca secured their first win over Los Blancos in a decade.

Alvaro Odriozola was at fault for Lago Junior's deciding strike and was later sent off in what was a disastrous outing for the right-back, though he wasn't the only one:

Zinedine Zidane deserved his share of blame for setting Real up in what seemed like an almost arrogant manner. Hazard missed the match to attend the birth of his fourth child (a son, per Sport), while Bale was recently injured on international duty. 

However, the manager failed to properly adjust. Vinicius Junior and James Rodriguez started on the flanks, but The Spanish Football Podcast highlighted all too late just how under-staffed they were in midfield:

Casemiro was left doing too much of Real's dirty work, and Zidane ultimately paid the price against opposition who are back in the top flight after six seasons away.

      

Winner: Granada

It speaks volumes of Diego Martinez's motivational powers that he can keep this Granada squad third after nine matches considering the difference in stature between his side and some of their peers.

Domingos Duarte's header was all that stood between them and Osasuna on Friday, and Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe cheered the team's ongoing run this term:

Sevilla and Real are the only teams to have beaten Granada this season, and the team already looks well on their way to securing La Liga survival (and possibly more).

It will be an entirely different cause for celebration should Granada manage to maintain their place until the end of the season, but the team and their manager are worthy of credit already.

      

Loser: Unai Simon

Athletic were less than 20 minutes from beating Valladolid and ending a run of three matches without a win on Sunday, but Simon's calamitous intervention saw to it that the drought lingers on.

Inaki Williams' superb finish nudged Los Leones into a narrow lead, but his goalkeeper's poor attempt at a clearance in the 71st minute forced an own-goal from team-mate Inigo Martinez:

It was a shame considering Simon pulled off a tremendous one-on-one save earlier in the match to deny striker Enes Unal, but he'll now remember this match for one contribution in particular.

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