The hint of predictability which tended to follow Spain’s three title challengers with three points before Christmas has been strangely lacking in the new year.
This weekend two of the three failed to even pick up a point.
At the bottom there was more gloom for Segunda-bound Real Betis, although they have every right to feel aggrieved with how they were beaten, while Rayo Vallecano look like dropping down with them.
Elsewhere, Valencia followed up their good form with another three points under Pizzi.
Here are the talking points from La Liga.
Carlos Vela tried his best, smashing all five of his chances pretty much into oblivion, but not even his questionable finishing could deny Real Sociedad a memorable victory over Barcelona on Saturday evening.
To be fair to the Mexican, he was actually always dangerous on the counter attack — as was Antoine Griezmann. Again.
La Real’s French sensation scored his 15th of the league season, created another and was generally a thorn in a Barca defence which was often surrounded by acres and acres of space.
Lionel Messi scored for the fifth game running, but it carried little weight.
“I got it wrong,” Gerard Martino admitted after his side’s 3-1 defeat at Anoeta handed title rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid the opportunity to move three points clear.
On Calle Ana de Velasco, a street which runs along just outside Osasuna’s El Sadar stadium, there should be a sign which reads,”DANGER: BIG TEAMS LEAVE WITH NOTHING.”
If there was, Atletico Madrid might not have become the third of Spain’s top three to leave Pamplona with their tails between their legs on Sunday night.
Barcelona had drawn 0-0 there and Real Madrid had been forced to come back from 2-0 down to secure a point, so Diego Simeone’s side new what to expect — they either didn’t, or simply weren’t able to, heed the warning.
Osasuna raced into a 3-0 lead before half-time and all Atleti’s players could do was shake their heads.
The inclusion of January signing Diego Ribas is proving particularly interesting; clearly a good footballer but there’s a case to suggest he’s a hindrance on the team. Atleti have lost all four games he’s started, as he struggles to adapt to Simeone’s rigid system.
He messed up 10 passes this weekend, some of which where very un-Atleti balls.