The fifth Match Day of the LaLiga 2018-19 season saw all the teams return to action following their European fixtures mid-week. Real Madrid, following their defeat of Roma, faced a stubborn Espanyol side while Barcelona were looking to continue their winning run against Girona.
Atletico Madrid were up against Getafe, who have already shown promise this season defeating Sevilla while Valencia faced local rivals Villarreal in the Valencian derby, both sides looking to get their LaLiga campaign back on track after a rocky start in Europe as well.
Here, we take a look at the five main talking points from Match Day 5 of the LaLiga 2018-19 season:
#5 Real Madrid overcome Espanyol in a close encounter
Real Madrid took on Espanyol on MatchDay 5 of the LaLiga and were already high on confidence following a 3-0 convincing win over Roma in the mid-week Champions League clash. Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui started in a 4-3-3 with Isco, and Marco Asensio started with Benzema up front.
Modric, Casemiro and Ceballos formed a different midfield three with Odriozola and Nacho in the wing back positions. Espanyol started in a 4-1-4-1 formation to counter Madrid's attacking threats with Darder, Granero and Borja Iglesias in the attack.
Madrid were not at their best throughout the first half of play and took them long enough to break the Espanyol defence. Marco Asensio scored in the 41st minute to hand Madrid the lead. Espanyol were looking dangerous in the counter-attack in the first half and it would not have been surprising had they found an equalizer in the second half.
Lopetegui brought in Mariano, Marcos Llorente and Lucas Vasquez to extend Madrid's lead but it would not be the case. Espanyol did create a few chances in the second half but none that would threaten Courtois. The match ended with Madrid winning 1-0 and Espanyol would surely be disappointed as they could have done more damage than they did.
With this win, Madrid are on 13 points from 5 games and are in seconds place in rankings behind Barcelona on goal difference. Up next for Madrid is a midweek fixture in LaLiga away at the Ramon Sanchez Pijuan against a resurgent Sevilla side, while Espanyol take on Eibar.
#4 Barcelona held to a draw at the Camp Nou against Girona
Barcelona were facing Girona at home on MatchDay 5 of LaLiga after registering an easy victory against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League clash earlier this week. Ernesto Valverde's side had won all of their LaLiga games so far this season and were up against a Girona side who had accumulated an impressive 7 points from 4 games.
Barcelona started in a 4-3-3 formation as they have done this season with Messi, Suarez and Ousmane Dembele in the front three while in midfield and defence, Valverde rested a few players from the Champions League tie and started with Lenglet, Arthur and Arturo Vidal.
Barcelona enforced a possession-based style from the start and were patient in creating their chances. In the 19th minute, Leo Messi combined with Arturo Vidal and scored to give Barcelona an early 1-0 lead. But things started to go south for Valverde's men when in the 35th minute a foul by Clement Lenglet on Pons was reviewed by VAR resulting in a red card for Lenglet and Barca were down to 10 men.
Girona took complete advantage of this situation as Stuani overpowered Pique to score from a Benitez cross right at the stroke of half-time to make it 1-1. The second half started with Girona well aware that the match could go either way and in the 51st minute Ter Stegen saved Portu's shot but Stuani struck in the rebound to score his second and hand Girona a 2-0 lead.
This forced Valverde to go back to his tried and tested combination bringing on Rakitic and Coutinho in place of the struggling Arthur and Vidal. In the 62nd minute, Messi received a free kick resulting into a corner from Bono. Barcelona took full advantage of this set piece with Suarez forcing a save from Bono and Pique heading into the net to equalize for Barcelona.
The match ended a 2-2 draw which would be a fantastic result for Girona, but for Barcelona, they would look to go back to winning ways as they take on Leganes in the midweek LaLiga match. Barcelona still sit top of the table with 13 points from 5 games ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference.
#3 Atletico Madrid fight hard to win 2-0 against Getafe
Atletico Madrid were away against a strong Getafe side on Match Day 5 of LaLiga. Getafe had secured 7 points out of their 4 matches in LaLiga whereas Atletico Madrid have had a rough start with just 5 points from their opening 4 fixtures.
Simeone lined up his side his in a familiar 4-4-2 with Griezmann and Costa up front. Thomas Lemar and Rodrigo started in midfield with Saul and Koke. Atletico did come back from behind to defeat Monaco in the Champions League clash earlier this week and were hoping to replicate the same form in La Liga as well.
Thomas Lemar opened the scoring for Atletico Madrid when a long-range effort from him struck the crossbar and rebounded off Getafe keeper Soria into the back of the net. Atletico had a much-needed lead early in the first half in the 14th minute itself.
At the halfway mark, Atleti led by a slender 1-0 margin and soaked up the pressure well to maintain the lead. In the second half, Simeone's men doubled the lead when Thomas Lemar got the better of Soria and struck his first goal for Atletico Madrid in the 60th minute. This goal was enough for Atletico to hold on to for a victory after a rough start to their LaLiga campaign.
Atletico displayed a strong performance against a very solid Getafe side to register 3 points and get back to 5th position in the rankings with 8 points from 5 games. Up next for Atleti is a match against Huesca in LaLiga's midweek fixtures.
#2 10 men Valencia are held to a goalless draw at Villarreal
Valencia faced off against Villarreal on Match Day 5 of LaLiga. Both teams have had a pretty ordinary start to their respective LaLiga campaigns with Villarreal managing 4 points and Valencia 3 points from their opening four games. Valencia, as well as Villarreal, started their European campaign this week as well, with Valencia putting on a dismal performance to lose to 10 men Juventus at home after Ronaldo was sent off, while Villarreal gave away their lead twice against Steven Gerrard's Rangers to draw 2-2 at home.
Villarreal started the match in a 4-4-2 formation with former Espanyol man Gerard Moreno and Carlos Bacca upfront. Marcelino's Valencia also started in a 4-4-2 formation with Kevin Gameiro and Santi Mina in the attack along with World Cup star Dennis Cheryshev in midfield. Kevin Gameiro, Gabriel and Ferran Torres had chances to give Valencia the lead while Layun and Gaspar created chances for Villarreal as well but neither side could strike the decisive blow.
Marcelino brought on Batshuayi and Guedes for Mina and Torres, searching for the elusive goal. But a red card to Dani Parejo in the 58th minute meant Valencia were at a disadvantage and had to bring on Coquelin as a defensive substitute for Gameiro. Villarreal too brought on late substitutes in the form of veteran Santi Cazorla, Pedraza and Ekambi but at the end of full time, neither team could find the back of the net. Villarreal would be disappointed to not take advantage of 10 men Valencia as the match ended in a goalless draw.
With this draw, Villarreal and Valencia sit on 14th and 15th places with 5 and 4 points respectively and have much to think about going forward. Tough challenges lie ahead for both as Villarreal have a trip away at the San Mames against Athletic Club while Valencia face 4th place Celta Vigo at home in LaLiga midweek MatchDay 6 fixtures.
#1 Sevilla inflict a huge defeat on Levante
Sevilla were up against Levante on Match Day 5 of LaLiga. Both teams had secured only four points from their opening four LaLiga fixtures. In addition to that, Sevilla had a tough pre-season already in Europa League qualifying but had held their own in the midweek Europa League MatchDay 1 clash against Belgian side Standard Liege as they defeated them 5-1 at home. Sevilla were high on confidence from their Europa League fixture and hoped to carry on the same form in LaLiga as well.
Sevilla started the match in a 3-5-2 formation with Ben-Yedder and Andre Silva upfront along with Jesus Navas and Aleix Vidal to support from the wing. Levante started with a solid 4-4-2 formation with Marti and Mayoral in the attack. Ben Yedder struck early for Sevilla in the 11th minute from a Pablo Sarabia assist to give the visitors the lead, but their joy was cut short when Marti scored a minute later to level things up.
Daniel Carrico scored the second for Sevilla from yet another Sarabia assist in the 21st minute. Ben Yedder completed his hattrick in the first half with two strikes in the 35th minute and 44th minute to make it 4-1 for Sevilla. Just after halftime, Andre Silva scored to extend Sevilla's lead to 5-1.
Ben Yedder then provided the assist to Sarabia as he scored in the 59th minute to make it 6-1. Simon scored for the hosts in the 90th minute but it was too little too late as Sevilla registered a thumping 6-2 win over Levante.
With this win Sevilla moved to 7 points from five games and are in 7th place in the rankings while Levante are in 16th place with 4 points. Sevilla are up against Real Madrid at home in the midweek LaLiga clash on Match Day 6.