La Liga Winners and Losers After Final 2020 Week 20 Table

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2020

MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 18: Casemiro of Real Madrid celebrates goal 2-1 during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Madrid v Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu on January 18, 2020 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Quique Setien collected his first win as Barcelona manager when the Blaugrana edged 10-man Granada 1-0 at the Camp Nou on Sunday to mark a victorious (if tense) debut at the club.

Lionel Messi's goal moved Barca back level on points with Real Madrid at the top of La Liga after the home win, Setien's first match in charge of the club since he replaced Ernesto Valverde.

Real temporarily moved clear at the summit after Casemiro's brace lifted Los Blancos to a 2-1 win against Sevilla, who suffered their second defeat in four league matches at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Rivals Atletico Madrid were less fortunate and lost 2-0 in their visit to Eibar, while Valencia lost more pace with La Liga's higher powers following a 4-1 humiliation at Mallorca on Sunday.

Espanyol and Alaves collected rare road wins against Villarreal and Levante, respectively, while fifth-place Getafe remain in European contention after they routed Leganes 3-0 away from home. 

Here's how La Liga looks after the conclusion of Week 20:

       

Week 20 Results

Leganes 0-3 Getafe

Levante 0-1 Alaves

Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla

Osasuna 0-0 Real Valladolid

Eibar 2-0 Atletico Madrid

Mallorca 4-1 Valencia

Real Betis 3-0 Real Sociedad

Villarreal 1-2 Espanyol

Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Celta Vigo

Barcelona 1-0 Granada

      

Winner: Debutant Quique Setien

It was only fitting that Messi—long admired by Setien—scored the first goal of a new era under the former Real Betis coach, who was somewhat happy just to take three points against mid-table opposition.

Securing the reward is all that matters in the end, but there are positives for Setien when looking beyond the fact Barca took 76 minutes to open the scoring at home to Granada (who beat them 2-0 in September).

Squawka attested to the grip they developed in first-half possession, with Barca starting out in the kind of power position they used to enjoy so regularly under Pep Guardiola:

The team's work between the two final thirds still needs polishing with new tactics in place, but Barca looked back to their classic ways of tiki-taka, per AFP's Tom Allnutt:

A victorious start to the job will be a weight off the shoulders of Setien, whose free-flowing philosophies promise to bring this Barcelona side on to new heights if all goes to plan.

       

Loser: Valencia

Valencia fell to a loss in La Liga for the first time since late November when they travelled to Mallorca on Saturday, suffering what will be seen as their worst loss of the campaign thus far.

Ante Budimir continued his meteoric first season in La Liga and put Mallorca firmly in the driver's seat with a first-half brace before he assisted Dani Rodriguez for their fourth goal:

Los Che recorded two defeats in their 16 matches prior to the recent Spanish Super Cup semi-final loss to Real Madrid (3-1) but have now lost twice in succession for the first time this season.

The Spanish Football Podcast described the dramatic impact the result had for both teams:

Valencia also suffered a double blow considering the red card picked up by Dani Parejo—which came when the guests were already trailing 3-0—rules him out of the home clash against Barcelona in Week 21.

       

Winner: Casemiro

Casemiro tends to grab headlines at the Santiago Bernabeu for his diligence off the ball, but it was two assured touches in front of goal that saw him take Man-of-the-Match honours against Sevilla.

Zinedine Zidane will have known three points were far from assured given the level of opposition, but his midfield anchor rose to the occasion by doubling his goal tally for the campaign in one afternoon:

Of course, Casemiro had some of his more customary influence on proceedings, including five tackles and a pass completion of 85 percent, per WhoScored.com.

Real looked motivated to take maximum spoils with stars like Sergio Ramos, Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Federico Valverde each unavailable, and Casemiro delivered with an all-action performance.

       

Loser: Diego Simeone

Eibar cemented their maiden victory over Atletico Madrid in Week 20 and moved seven points clear of La Liga's relegation zone, handing Los Rojiblancos their first defeat in five league outings.

Diego Simeone had won in each of his five previous visits to Ipurua before Saturday's clash when goals from Esteban Burgos and Edu Exposito saw all three points go to Jose Luis Mendilibar's side:

Atletico's second away league defeat of the campaign has left them eight points behind the pace-setters at the top of La Liga, and only five points separates them from Athletic Bilbao in eighth.

Commentator Andy West suggested Atletico have stagnated somewhat under Simeone, who could be in need of some fresh perspective:

Simeone's response to alter his plans and inspire a comeback came too late and were even punished by Expositio's 90th-minute strike, not to mention Atleti have failed to score in their last 210 minutes of play.

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