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La Liga Winners and Losers After Final 2019 Week 17 Table

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 15, 2019

VALENCIA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 15: coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid  during the La Liga Santander  match between Valencia v Real Madrid at the Estadio de Mestalla on December 15, 2019 in Valencia Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona and Real Madrid failed to turn up the heat on one another in Week 17 of La Liga after each were held to draws in their visits to Real Sociedad and Valencia, respectively.

The Blaugrana's draw at Sociedad on Saturday didn't come without incident, however, and was one of several fixtures marred by VAR controversy this weekend.

Karim Benzema converted a 95th-minute equaliser to secure a point for Real in their visit to Los Che, who came within seconds of handing Real their first defeat in almost two months.

Spain's top two are level on points ahead of the first Clasico of the season on Wednesday at the Camp Nou, while Sevilla missed their chance to move within a point of the top after losing 2-1 at home to Villarreal.

Getafe continued their march up the standings and sit fourth after extending their winning streak to three games in the league, marking their best start to a campaign.

     

La Liga Table (Played, Goal Difference, Points)

1. Barcelona: 16, +23, 35

2. Real Madrid: 16, +21, 35

3. Sevilla: 17, +4, 31

4. Getafe: 17, +10, 30

5. Atletico Madrid: 17, +8, 29

6. Real Sociedad: 17, +8, 28

7. Valencia: 17, +3, 27

8. Athletic Bilbao: 17, +7, 27

9. Granada: 17, +2, 24

10. Real Betis: 17, -5, 23

11. Osasuna: 17, +2, 23

12. Levante: 17, -4, 23

13. Villarreal: 17, +5, 22

14. Alaves: 17, -6, 19

15. Real Valladolid: 17, -6, 19

16. Eibar: 17, -13, 16

17. Real Mallorca: 17, -12, 15

18. Celta Vigo: 17, -11, 14

19. Leganes: 17, -16, 10

20. Espanyol: 17, -20, 10

      

Winner: Getafe

Jose Bordalas continues to work magic in his fourth season at the Getafe helm, and a 2-0 win over Real Valladolid marked their fifth straight win in all competitions (unbeaten in seven).

Getafe haven't lost in seven league games, with Marc Cucurella's and Angel Rodriguez's strikes on Sunday helping record their best start to a La Liga campaign:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

⚽ 30 points. 📈 17 matches. @GetafeCF register their best ever start to a campaign in #LaLigaSantander! 🔝💙 https://t.co/4ItDkeBCDF

Their fourth-place perch is anything but secure, however, and BeIN Sports' Andres Cordero underlined just how close the margins are in the jostling behind Barca and Real:

Andres Cordero @DreCordero

La Liga is wild right now. No clear favorite between Barça and Madrid ahead of El Clásico. And only 4 pts separating 3rd place Sevilla from 8th, Valencia. You could see any of Sevilla, Getafe, Atleti, la Real, Athletic or Valencia go on to finish top four.

Getafe are through to the UEFA Europa League round of 32 after nine years away from European competition and could be entering a new phase of higher-class competition under Bordalas. 

     

Loser: The Big 2

Following Barca's stunted performance at the Reale Arena on Saturday, Real were held to a draw themselves at the Mestalla when Valencia refused to give up their unbeaten home record in the league this term.

Ernesto Valverde's side won six straight travelling to the Basque country but came undone against La Real, whose only defeat in their last six games came away at Real Madrid.

Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez scored for the Catalan giants before former Borussia Dortmund striker Alexander Isak levelled for Sociedad:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

⚽ Mikel Oyarzabal ⚽ Antoine Griezmann ⚽ Luis Suarez ⚽ Alexander Isak 📺 Enjoy the highlights from #RealSociedadBarça 😍 https://t.co/oEnFhtfyy5

Three points were by no means guaranteed for Real travelling to Valencia, and Zinedine Zidane's men were ultimately elated to share the spoils after Benzema's winner at the death (UK viewers only):

Premier Sports 📺 @PremierSportsTV

🚨 UNBELIEVABLE SCENES AT THE MESTALLA! ⚪ Real Madrid equalise with the last kick of the game! 😱 Thibaut Courtois almost scores a header, and then Karim Benzema scrambles the rebound home! https://t.co/RMFUyVjAb0

It's rare when Real and Barca both drop points in tandem this term—Los Blancos drew 0-0 at home to Real Betis in Week 12, when the Blaugrana fell 3-1 away at Levante.

     

Winner: Real Sociedad's Investigators

Social media could come to play a big role in pressuring football's authorities to maintain high standards of refereeing after Sociedad's Twitter team showed their hand in officiating.

Many Barca fans came away frustrated Gerard Pique wasn't awarded a penalty during the 2-2 draw for an incident that was similar to an earlier one when Sergio Busquets gave away a spot-kick to the hosts.

Sociedad's savvy social media team broke down the incident in phases, attempting to point out Pique was himself guilty of grabbing his marker at the time:

Real Sociedad Fútbol @RealSociedad

Si otros prefieren quedarse con otras imágenes, les ayudamos a que seleccionen las que más claramente muestran la realidad #AurreraReala https://t.co/4Y5hGwTQKA

The Barca Blaugranes blog followed the thread as Sociedad pointed to past incidents when they felt Barcelona got the rub of the green and finished with a peaceful message between the two clubs.

It may not have directly impacted the result, but clubs pleading their cases in an online court could catch on.

     

Loser: VAR (or Lack Thereof) 

VAR has been at the centre of much discussion among football fans this season, but implementation of the technology by referees remains one of the largest concerns.

In the aforementioned 2-2 draw between La Real and Barca, referee Javier Alberola Rojas opted not to check with the video assistant on either occasion—to the confusion of many supporters.

That wasn't the only fixture in which doubtable decisions were left without clarification, either. 

The Spanish Football Podcast highlighted Celta Vigo's displeasure with a decision that went unchecked during their 2-2 draw at home to 10-man Mallorca on Sunday:

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Honestly we've lost track of how many clubs have complained about VAR this weekend now https://t.co/JQyck3JmnJ

Streamlining an innovation like VAR is a process that will take time, and it's true the system was used correctly many times in La Liga during Week 17 that will go without notice.

Officials continue to shy away from its usage in situations that warrant it, leaving VAR open to criticism when it's in fact those given the responsibility to deploy it who are off their game.