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LaLiga 2017/2018 Matchday 3 Roundup: Real Madrid drop to 7th, Barcelona and Real Sociedad run rampant

ANALYST
2.30K   //    12 Sep 2017, 13:37 IST

Barcelona v Espanyol - La Liga
Barcelona annihilated Espanyol in a 5-0 victory in the La Liga

When the fixture list was announced at the outset of the LaLiga season, few would have presumed that Real Madrid would be sat with just five points from the first available nine - but that is the situation that Zinedine Zidane's squad currently finds itself in.

An opening goal from Levante forward Ivi made life complicated for the Los Blancos on Saturday, as the newly-promoted side's shape and organisation ensured that even the introduction of Isco in the second half couldn't force the issue for Real Madrid.

Rotation proved costly, with the likes of Theo Hernandez, Lucas Vazquez, Marcos Llorente and Kiko Casilla some of the less regularly seen faces opted for by Zidane.

Later that evening, Barcelona made no such mistake. Ivan Rakitic recovered from injury to put in a great performance in midfield for Ernesto Valverde's men, with Lionel Messi netting himself a hat trick to ensure that Espanyol suffered a Catalan derby defeat with a whimper.

Ousmane Dembele made his debut and registered a quick assist, as the Blaugrana continue to step over the rather low hurdles that have been set for them thus far in the LaLiga.

Barcelona v Espanyol - La Liga
Ousmane Dembele marked his debut with a crucial assist

Wind back to Friday, and Leganes and Getafe battled it out in a historic Madrid derby, with a stunning goal from Mauro Arimbarri helping the visitors to a 2-1 away triumph at Butarque. The game reaffirmed what was already known: two teams with a similarly defensive and conservative style, who will try and scrape their way to safety this campaign.

Meanwhile, Valencia continued their regeneration against Atletico Madrid, forcing Diego Simeone's men to grind out a 0-0 stalemate at a rainy Mestalla. Geoffrey Kondogbia starred against for Marcelino's unit, who have come a huge way in a very short space of time.

Last season, Los Che failed to register a clean sheet in the first 18 match days - this time around they've managed it after three fixtures and with a far tougher calendar.

Eduardo Berizzo's Sevilla continue to underwhelm and yet pick up points, as Ganso was again the bizarre goal-scoring catalyst for a resounding 3-0 win over Eibar.

The Basque visitors looked a little stunned at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, leaving the likes of Wissam Ben Yedder and Nolito to snatch goals that will do wonders for their confidence - but Los Nervionenses still don't seem to know their strongest starting team.

On Sunday, the goalscoring trend continued. Real Sociedad found themselves 2-0 up inside the opening 10 minutes at Riazor against Deportivo La Coruna, as Pepe Mel's team continue to settle into games dreadfully.

Asier Illarramendi scored twice in what was eventually a 4-2 victory for La Real, raining on the returning parade of Lucas Perez. Things aren't looking good for Mel, who is coming under plenty of pressure despite it being the embryonic stages of the campaign.

Asier
Asier Illarramendi stole the show with a spectacular brace

Athletic Bilbao can thank Inaki Williams for their 2-0 victory over Girona, with the right winger popping up with two important assists. Kuko Ziganda is still unbeaten in the league as Los Leones boss - but they've stumbled to the results they've picked up thus far. Once again, Pablo Machin's newly promoted team put up a considerable fight.

Two teams, Celta Vigo and Villarreal, picked up much-needed victories on Sunday evening. A solitary strike from Maxi Gomez was enough to snatch three points for La Celeste, who controlled the game well against a Deportivo Alaves outfit that looked destined to play a lengthy role in the relegation battle this campaign.

It could have been more than just the one-goal winning margin - but a win is the most important thing.

Villarreal came from behind to beat Real Betis by a 3-1 scoreline at La Ceramica, with new strikers Carlos Bacca and Enes Unal getting on the scoresheet in the process. After an injury crisis, Fran Escriba was able to put out a recognised defence, with Samu Castillejo leading the charge in midfield to help inspire the hosts to a vital win.

Escriba's name was jeered pre-match, with those three points enough to potentially buy him some time without criticism. For Betis, there were once again positive signs, but Mariano Barbosa wasn't given a thorough examination and it ultimately wasn't enough to be worthy of a share of the spoils.

Monday night's clash between Malaga and Las Palmas closed out the fixture list for the week, with the away side managing to take their first league victory on the road in over a year.

Manolo Marquez took his first three points as boss in a 3-1 win, despite his side not needing to play particularly well. New boy Jonathan Calleri scored and looks to be a gem, with Loic Remy coming off the bench to also find the back of the net.

For Malaga, it is a grim scenario, with whistles, jeers and calls for club president Abdullah Al Thani ringing out after the final whistle at La Rosaleda. A lack of personality on the pitch, mixed with off-field problems, makes for a true mess. One that could cost Michel his job before long.




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ANALYST
Freelance football writer for SportsKeeda, Perform Group, WhoScored, FourFourTwo and others.
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