Although there is one game left to play today, Matchday 15 in La Liga has all but wrapped up, with Osasuna vs Elche being the only remaining fixture. The weekend action brought about tons of fun, as well as change in the standings, as two of the league's top teams suffered unwanted defeats.
Real Sociedad, who entered this round in the no.2 spot, were unfortunately beaten on Sunday, going 1-0 down away to Espanyol, thus losing further ground on Real Madrid. Sevilla also suffered a defeat, losing 2-1 away to Los Blancos, and as a result, Lopetegui's side dropped further down the table than they would have liked.
As mentioned above, the league leaders triumphed, meaning they kept a hold of the no.1 spot, but with Atletico Madrid winning 4-1 at Cadiz that same day, Los Blancos' lead isn't one to rest on. Barcelona, meanwhile, visited Villarreal and registered a much-needed 3-1 victory as Xavi's men rode their luck on occasion to come away from El Madrigal with the three points. Here's everything you need to know about the weekend round of fixtures in La Liga.
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Athletic Club kicked off the recent round on Friday, hosting Granada, whom they drew 2-2 with. This was the Basque club's eighth draw of the season, with only Sporting de Gijón in the 1982/83 campaign recording more stalemates in the first 14 games (10).
Albeit a hard-fought win, Barcelona came away from Villarreal with a crucial 3-1 triumph. This was their first away victory this season, a statistic that underlines how poor they have been. Furthermore, it's the first time they have won back-to-back games in La Liga this term, having beaten Espanyol 1-0 in their previous outing.
Atletico Madrid enjoyed a 4-1 victory over Cadiz on Sunday, with Antoine Griezmann netting the second goal of the day. That strike means the Frenchman has now scored against 33 of the 34 Spanish top-flight teams he has faced, only failing to find the back of the net against Atletico during his time with Barca.
Sevilla's 2-1 loss to Real Madrid has unfortunately stretched Lopetegui's undesirable winless streak against Los Blancos. The Spanish tactician has overseen 100 La Liga games, with Real Madrid being the team he has faced the most without triumphing (P5, D1, L4) – tied with Barcelona (P5, D2, L3).
Los Merengues' victory over Sevilla was a comeback triumph. Ancelotti's men went a goal down first, but Benzema and Vinicius Jr. managed to turn things around. As a result, Real Madrid have now won 10 points from losing positions, with only Atletico Madrid (8) coming close.
As mentioned above, Benzema got on the scoresheet. The Frenchman, who is one of the favorites for this year's Ballon d'Or, scored the equalizer, taking his tally in La Liga this season to 11 goals. He has now taken his goals contribution to 18 (scored 11, assisted 7), with only Mohamed Salah contributing to more goals in Europe's top five leagues this term (19, 11 goals and 8 assists).
Top matches to watch in La Liga Liga: Dec. 03-06, 2021
Sevilla vs Villarreal: Lopetegui's side dropped points away to Real Madrid, but there's no shame in losing at the Bernabeu, let alone by a one-goal margin. However, what Sevilla cannot do is suffer another slip-up next week. Unfortunately, they will be hosting Villarreal, who despite all their inconsistencies, remain a tricky opposition. Emery's men truly tested Barcelona over the weekend and will likely do the same against Los Palanganas.
Barcelona vs Real Betis: Two wins out of two is Xavi's current record, but the Catalan giants did not emerge from their 3-1 victory without any concerns. Nonetheless, it was another triumph in Barcelona's campaign to re-enter the top four, which looks to be their ultimate goal in La Liga this season. Next up for the Blaugrana is a clash with Real Betis, a team that sits just one point outside of a UEFA Champions League spot. Will the visitors hand Xavi's first defeat in the Spanish top-flight or will the newly-appointed manager carry on the momentum? Tune in to find out!
Real Sociedad vs Real Madrid: From one tricky fixture to another; December will not be an easy month for Real Madrid. Things kick off with a difficult trip to Real Sociedad, who have been one of La Liga's best teams this term. Los Blancos have been in blistering form, which is great news for the visitors. Unfortunately, after back-to-back slip-ups against Valencia and Espanyol, La Real will give it their all in order to return to winning ways. And given that the home advantage favors Isak and Co, we can comfortably say Ancelotti's crew will be given a run for their money.
*Keep track of all the action in the Spanish top-flight by following our dedicated La Liga competition page.