X

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and La Liga Team of the Week After Matchday 16

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 7: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona with the golden ball during the La Liga Santander  match between FC Barcelona v Real Mallorca at the Camp Nou on December 7, 2019 in Barcelona Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona are still top of the table after Matchday 16 of the 2019-20 La Liga season.

Lionel Messi scored a brilliant hat-trick in the Blaugrana's 5-2 win over Mallorca, but they are still only goal-difference clear of Real Madrid, who beat Espanyol 2-0.

Spain's two biggest sides have started to pull away a little from the chasing pack after Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid all failed to win.

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

Real Madrid ✅ Granada ✅ Valencia ✅ Barça ✅ Getafe ✅ Real Betis ✅ Leganes ✅ 🔥 31 goals in 10 games this weekend! 🔥 #LaLigaSantander https://t.co/gKrBGcwmWB

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

1st — @FCBarcelona (34pts) 2nd — @realmadriden (34pts) With 10 days until #ElClásico, it couldn't be closer at the top of #LaLigaSantander! 🍿 https://t.co/5JsnN2sycV

Here is the team of the week.  

                      

GK: Sergio Asenjo, Villarreal

Villarreal are struggling at the moment, and after drawing 0-0 against Atletico Madrid on Friday, they remain without a win in La Liga since October.

However, getting a point against Atleti is no mean feat, and Asenjo played a key role at El Madrigal, marshalling his penalty area well and producing a particularly fine save in the second half to deny Joao Felix.

                            

DEF: Mathias Olivera, Getafe

Getafe's 1-0 victory at Eibar moved them up to fifth in the table, and Olivera was crucial to the visitors keeping a clean sheet on Sunday as he made three clearances, two tackles, two interceptions and won two aerial duels.

He also almost broke the deadlock in the dying stages of the first half when he hit the crossbar from six yards. 

                                             

DEF: Raphael Varane, Real Madrid

Solid defensive performances are to be expected these days from Varane, and he enjoyed another in Real's win over Espanyol on Sunday, blocking two shots and winning three tackles during the 90 minutes.

It is rare, though, that he contributes in attack, but he did just that at the Santiago Bernabeu, opening the scoring after 37 minutes with a fine left-footed finish:

Tom Allnutt @TomAllnuttAFP

Varane stays up after a corner and stabs in with his left foot after Benzema bundled through. 1-0, 40.

                                            

DEF: Felipe, Atletico Madrid

Atletico are in frustrating form at the moment and have dropped to seventh in the table after a third winless league game in succession.

Despite their toothlessness in attack against Villarreal, though, they were solid at the back, and Felipe impressed with six clearances and three blocks.

                  

DEF: Victor Diaz, Granada

Granada moved into the top half of the table after their 3-0 home win over Alaves, and right-back Diaz had a key role to play as he assisted the opening and closing strikes.

He put the ball on a plate for Carlos Fernandez to head home just after half-time and then found Yangel Herrera for his excellent goal in the 77th minute.

                      

MID: Joaquin, Real Betis

Joaquin put on an exhibition of supreme finishing in Real Betis' 3-2 win over Athletic Bilbao, netting a career-first hat-trick inside 21 minutes with three superb right-foot finishes:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

💜 Di Stefano: 37 years and 255 days 💚 JOAQUIN: 38 years and 140 days 👑 @joaquinarte overtakes Alfredo Di Stefano to become the oldest player to score a hat-trick in #LaLigaHistory! https://t.co/C7f4nXMDJx

Athletic came back into the game with goals either side of the break, but Betis were able to hang on for the win despite Joaquin being denied a fourth late on.

                                                  

MID: Oscar, Leganes

Leganes' 3-2 victory over Celta Vigo on Sunday was their first win since October 26, and playmaker Oscar was its architect.

The Real Madrid loanee produced two moments of magic in the first half, scoring the opener with a 20-yard free-kick before a thunderous 30-yard strike from open play: 

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

✨🏆 Best free-kick ✨🏆 Best long range goal 🎬 And the Oscar goes to... @oscararnaiz10! #LeganesCelta https://t.co/gnxNOy8aIW

                        

MID: Ever Banega, Sevilla 

Sevilla lost ground on the top of the table as they could only draw 1-1 at Osasuna on Sunday, but Banega was typically superb.

The Argentinian midfielder produced a fine pass to set up Munir El Haddadi for his goal in the 11th minute, and he also had two shots on goal himself, produced one tackle and made one clearance.

                        

FWD: Lionel Messi, Barcelona

In the week he won his sixth Ballon d'Or, Messi showed once again why he was fully deserving of the gong.

His treble against Mallorca was breathtaking as he produced three inch-perfect finishes with his left foot, two from outside the penalty area:

ESPN UK @ESPNUK

Messi has been on another level this season 🔥 https://t.co/bYlFaG92Z9

                                           

FWD: Kevin Gameiro, Valencia 

Gameiro was the star man in Valencia's entertaining 4-2 win at Levante on Saturday.

His two goals, a close-range header and a powerful right-footed drive, turned the game in Los Che's favour after they had gone 2-0 down early on.

                       

FWD: Luis Suarez, Barcelona

Suarez produced the moment of the weekend, and arguably the moment of the season, when he executed a ludicrous chipped back-heel from seven yards to score Barca's fourth against Espanyol:

Dean Jones @DeanJonesBR

Barcelona's football has been breathtaking at times tonight and Luis Suarez has just scored a backheel that was simply ridiculous

The veteran Uruguayan also hit the post at the Camp Nou, and he laid off to Messi for Barca's fifth, in one of his best performances of the 2019-20 campaign. 

                                 

All stats from WhoScored.com unless otherwise stated.