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Luis Suarez, Martin Odegaard and La Liga Team of the Week After Matchday 18

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 23, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 21: Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring the fourth goal of his team during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou on December 21, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona re-opened a two-point cushion at the top of La Liga after beating Alaves 4-1 at home in Week 18, when Luis Suarez dazzled with three assists and a goal in a hugely valuable win.

Real Madrid fell off the pace after drawing at home to Athletic Bilbao, who succeeded in barricading their goal enough to keep out the likes of Karim Benzema and Luka Jovic for 90 minutes.

Sevilla maintained third place after they beat Mallorca 2-0 away from home, and Ever Banega impressed with two directo goal involvements on the road.

Martin Odegaard had another talismanic performance when Real Sociedad also triumphed away from home, edging Osasuna 4-3 largely thanks to another mesmerising display from the Norwegian.

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com.

      

Week 18 Results

Eibar 3-0 Granada

Mallorca 0-2 Sevilla

Barcelona 4-1 Alaves

Villarreal 1-0 Getafe

Real Valladolid 1-1 Valencia

Leganes 2-0 Espanyol

Osasuna 3-4 Real Sociedad

Real Betis 1-2 Atletico Madrid

Levante 3-1 Celta Vigo

Real Madrid 0-0 Athletic Bilbao

      

Goalkeeper: Unai Simon

Athletic's 0-0 stalemate away to Real on Sunday saw Los Leones go a third straight league game without a win, but the visitors were content with their share of the spoils following Unai Simon's eight saves in Madrid:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

Unai Simon & the woodwork deny Real Madrid at the Bernabeu! ✋ 📺 Highlights #RealMadridAthletic https://t.co/RLL9b1XIst

    

Right-Back: Kieran Trippier, Atletico Madrid

Kieran Trippier's Atletico Madrid resurgence continued with an impressive showing at Real Betis, where the visitors would have also kept a clean sheet were it not for Marc Bartra's injury-time consolation.

The Englishman recorded five tackles, completed two dribbles, and Hector Herrera (90 percent) was the only Atletico starter to beat his pass completion (89 percent).

    

Left-Back: Cote, Eibar

Eibar ended a run of five league games without a win when they beat Granada 3-0 on Friday, when Cote had his usually prominent involvement down their left flank. The 30-year-old took 68 touches (more than any other player on the field), completed three dribbles and won three aerial duels. 

    

Centre-Back: Inigo Martinez, Athletic Bilbao

Try as they might, Los Blancos failed to break down Athletic's lines at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday, and Inigo Martinez was to thank for much of that. The Basque defender led the match with six tackles (no other player had more than four) and won two aerial duels.

    

Centre-Back: Diego Carlos, Sevilla

Diego Carlos scored his second goal in four league games for Sevilla and kept a clean sheet in their triumph over Mallorca, with the Brazilian maintaining his success following a summer move from Nantes.

    

Central Midfield: Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Villarreal

Villarreal's summer punt on Fulham flop Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa continues to pay dividends after he enjoyed another crucial display in Villarreal's narrow 1-0 win over in-form Getafe. No player won more aerial duels than the loanee midfielder (eight), who also recorded a joint-match-high of three tackles and three successful dribbles.

    

Central Midfield: Ever Banega, Sevilla

Banega illustrated his mastery from dead-ball scenarios when Sevilla edged Mallorca on Saturday, crossing for Carlos' opener before sealing the result with a second-half penalty. The Argentinian also topped the match charts in passing completion (88 percent) and touches taken (88).

    

Right Midfield: Martin Odegaard, Real Sociedad

Not for the first time this season, Odegaard scored and assisted to play a critical role in a Real Sociedad win, having two direct involvements to help his side lead 3-0 at Osasuna:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

⚽ 0-1 Oyarzabal ⚽ 0-2 Portu ⚽ 0-3 Odegaard ⚽ 1-3 Aridane ⚽ 2-3 Chimy Avila ⚽ 2-4 Isak ⚽ 3-4 Chimy Avila 🔥 Strap in for highlights of one of the games of the season so far... #OsasunaRealSociedad! 🔥 https://t.co/4pzW5b3srD

The 10-man hosts came back into the clash to make for a more dramatic ending, but Odegaard's ingenious influence was again clear for La Real.

    

Left Midfield: Chimy Avila, Osasuna

Chimy Avila came out on the losing side in Pamplona, but Osasuna's left-sided star nevertheless earns a Team-of-the-Week following his brace for the hosts, bringing his tally up to five goals in his last five games, via Premier Sports (UK only): 

Premier Sports 📺 @PremierSportsTV

😂 Chimy Ávila with a typically outrageous goal! 💪 The Osasuna man flicks it up for his own header and his team are still fighting as it's now 4-3! https://t.co/MLGSzxeFGa

    

Striker: Luis Suarez, Barcelona

It's hardly unfeasible for Suarez to have four direct goal involvements in most Barcelona matches, but it's less expected for three of those to be assists:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

⚽ Griezmann ⚽ Vidal ⚽ Pere Pons ⚽ Messi ⚽ Luis Suarez Sit back and enjoy the highlights from #BarçaAlaves! 😎 https://t.co/cr2cmDbcPx

The Uruguayan set up all three of the Blaugrana's goal to go 3-1 ahead before finally joining the score sheet himself thanks to a late penalty.

      

Striker: Roger Marti, Levante

Roger Marti came off to a standing ovation when Levante beat Celta Vigo 3-1 on Sunday, having scored twice to help turn around the result after Iago Aspas' breakthrough at the Ciutat de Valencia.