Lionel Messi leads La Liga Team of the Week
Champions Atletico Madrid suffered a huge setback in their quest to retain the title they won against all odds last season after a 2-0 loss away at Celta Vigo. It is no surprise therefore that Celta’s key men headline this week’s best XI.
Up front, Espanyol goalkeeper KikoCasilla wins our hearts after his superb performance and crucial penalty save kept the Catalan side ahead and in a good position in their 2-0 win away in Andalusia against Malaga. Leading 1-0, Espanyol were at risk of being pegged back after Malaga were awarded a penalty. But Casilla saved NordinAmrabat’s shot masterfully.
In defence, Jose Gaya continued is magnificent form for Valencia in a hard fought 1-0 win against Getafe. The 19-year-old is steadily becoming a key man on the left side of the Valencia team, and was full of running, both offensively and defensively playing a key role in Los Che’s win.
Barca’s Marc Bartra made all the best of a rare start and was assured as Barcelona romped over Levante 5-0. The 24-year-old didn’t have to do a lot defensively, but his confidence meant he wasn’t rattled whenever his services were needed. He also claimed an assist for Barca’s second goal after a well-timed interception.
Alvaro Gonzalez is an obvious option for our team of the round after the defender’s first half goal put Espanyol in line for all three points away at Malaga. Completing the defence is Gonzalez’s teammate Anaitz Arbilla who also played a key defensive role in Espanyol’scleansheet in what was a tough away tie.
In midfield, Real Madrid’s midfield magician Isco was yet against at his best, capping a huge performance with a well taken goal as Real Madrid beat Deportivo La Coruna 2-0.
Sevilla defensive midfielder Vicente Iborra yet again was at his best form in Sevilla’s 3-0 win against Cordoba. The 27-year-old was Sevilla’s engine room and barely foot wrong. He got rewarded for his good work with a 76th minute headed goal – his side’s third of the game.
Further forward in midfield is Celta Vigo duo Nolito and Fabio Orellana, who played huge roles, and scored the two goals in Celta’s shock 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid at Balaídos. Nolito won the penalty – which he converted himself – for Celta’s first, and was tormentor-in-chief to the Atleti defence all night long. Orellana was also a menace both on and off the ball, and scored a cracking second which all but sealed the champions’ fate.
Alberto Bueno was excellent and scored one of the goals which saw RayoVallecano beat Villarreal 2-0. He was without doubt the Man of the Match in the tie.
Finally is the consistent record breaker Lionel Messi, who scored his 23rd La Liga hat-trick in Barca’s 5-0 trouncing of Levante. Messi was simply untouchable, had more shots and dribbles than any other player as well as an assist too. Spotless!