After a busy round of fixtures in La Liga this weekend, Getafe’s consistent run of form sees the Madrid club in the Champions League placings in fourth position after a 2-0 home win against Valladolid.
Villareal recorded a good 1-2 win away to Julien Lopetegui’s Sevilla side on Sunday afternoon and will hope this impressive victory can kickstart their season once more.
The ‘Big Two’ had to be content with away draws as Barcelona took home a point to Catalonia after a 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad, while Real Madrid salvaged a point at the death in the Mestalla in Sunday night’s game against Valencia.
Karim Benzema’s 95th minute goal ensured the game finished up a draw, 1-1. This means both teams enter Wednesday night’s rearranged Clasico in the Nou Camp level on points.
Many players impressed over the weekend and we’ve decided to go for a 4-3-1-2 formation for our Team Of The Week to accommodate the players who performed best in Matchday 17…
Goalkeeper: Marko Dmitrovic (Eibar)
The 27-year-old Serbian was a key factor in Eibar picking up a well deserved point in a scoreless draw away to Athletic Bilbao in the Basque derby in San Mames on Saturday evening.
Eibar, who currently lie in sixteenth place in the league after this weekends round of games, were coming off four consecutive defeats and came under increasing pressure in the second half, one particular save by Dmitrovic with his feet to deny substitute Ibai Gómez went a long way to securing a point for the visitors.
Eibar are two points above the drop zone and will need Dmitrovic to carry this form into the New Year if they are to remain out of the drop zone.
Right Back: Kieran Trippier (Atlético de Madrid)
Trippier reacted to the disappointment of missing an early penalty in the opening minutes of Wednesday nights Champion’s League home win against Lokomotiv Moscow by turning in an assured performance against a very committed Osasuna side.
The former Tottenham full-back was solid in defence and always made himself available on the right-hand side going forward.
His delivery or final ball has been hit and miss at times this season, but he is clearly improving in this area, clear evidence of this was his delivery from a 75th minute free-kick which Álavaro Morata headed home for the opener in the 2-0 win.
Trippier is competing with the Colombian international Santiago Arias for a position on the right-hand side of Diego Simeone’s defence and can be pleased with his performance levels in general so far this season, which was further enhanced on Saturday evening in the Metropolitano.
Centre Back : Raúl Albiol (Villarreal)
The 34-year-old Spanish centre-back opened the scoring in Villareal’s impressive 1-2 away victory in Sevilla. Albiol headed home from close range in the 13th minute from a corner and was instrumental in the ‘Yellow Submarine’ winning for the first time since the home win against Alavés on the 25th October.
Albiol was a solid presence at the heart of the Villareal defence and helped repel the Sevilla attack after the home side equalised through Munir El Haddadi on 61 minutes, before Karl Toko Ekambi scored the winner for the visitors in the 74th minute.
Villareal are in 13th position after the weekend’s play and will hope to build on this big away win after a disappointing run of results.
Centre Back : Ezequiel Garay (Valencia)
The 33-year-old Argentinian centre-back was a commanding figure in his sides 1-1 home draw with Real Madrid.
Garay was tasked with keeping tabs on Karim Benzema and both can feel satisfied with their performances, Benzema nicking a late equaliser for the Madrid side.
Garay has featured in the heart of Los Ches defence on 14 occasions in La Liga this season and has contributed significantly to his sides decent run of form both domestically and in Europe.
Left Back : Lucas Olaza (Celta Vigo)
The 25-year-old defender was in good form at left-back in Celta Vigo’s home draw with Mallorca which ended 2-2.
In what has been a frustrating season for the Galician club who currently lie in 18th position in the table, although Olaza has been a consistent performer and Sunday afternoon’s home tie was no different.
The Uruguayan curled in a beautiful cross for Rafinha to head home in the 20th minute and was also taken down for a penalty in the 50th minute which Iago Aspas despatched to the left corner of the net.
Right Midfield : Daniel Wass (Valencia)
The Austrian midfielder was in good form for Valencia in the final game of the weekend which took place in the Mestalla. ‘Los Ches’ were within seconds of recording a home win until Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema netted from a goalmouth scramble after a corner in the 95th minute, with the game finishing 1-1.
Wass was a threat throughout the game on the right-hand side and set up Carlos Soler for the opening goal of the game in the 78th minute.
He was prominently involved throughout and was a major player in a good performance from the home side.
Valencia occupy 7th place after the weekend’s action and Wass has been a permanent fixture in the side all season, alternating between centre and right midfield but more regularly right back.
Valencia’s injury crisis meant coach Albert Celades had to shuffle the pack with Wass pushing into midfield for this game.
Centre Midfield : Saúl Ñíguez (Atlético de Madrid)
Saúl was immense in the home win against Osasuna on Saturday evening. The Atlético midfield was weakened with the selling of Rodri to Manchester City in the summer but Thomas Partey and Saúl have consistently picked up the slack this season.
The 25-year-old played alongside Partey in the centre of the park and imposed himself on the game from the first whistle. The Spanish midfielder is a fierce competitor, beautifully balanced and is the epitome of composure in possession.
An impressive showing from Saúl was capped by a sublime left-footed finish where the midfielder lifted the ball over the onrushing Sergio Herrera in the Osasuna goal from a Ángel Correa through ball to secure the points for Atlético in the 75th minute.
Left Midfield : Marc Cucurella (Getafe)
The 21-year-old Spanish midfielder can play on the left-hand side of both defence and midfield, where he lined out in Sunday’s home win against Real Valladolid.
Cucurella opened the scoring in the 36th minute after neat interplay with Jorge Molina. The midfielder was also involved in the attack which resulted in Ángel heading home in the 82nd minute to secure the 2-0 home win.
Getafe are after winning five games in a row now including Europa League fixtures and are in a really good moment ending the weekend in fourth position in La Liga.
Attacking Midfielder : Martin Ødergaard (Real Sociedad)
The 20-year-old Norwegian performed admirably in La Real’s 2-2 home draw at Anoeta against Barcelona.
Ødergaard is currently on loan from Real Madrid and has made fifteen appearances in La Liga this season. This extended run of games has seen his game develop and he has three goals and four assists to his name in La Liga this season.
The Real Madrid loanee found himself in space between the lines consistently and his level of awareness and measured passing which was on show again on Saturday afternoon, has been a constant feature of Real Sociedad’s play throughout the campaign.
Forward : Luis Suárez (Barcelona)
Suárez is 32 now and there has been talk of him perhaps moving on to pastures new next season. While he may not be in his prime physically he stills remains one of the deadliest number 9’s in world football.
The awareness shown by the Uruguayan to capitalise on Diego Llorente’s error in dealing with a long Barcelona delivery from defence to play in Antoine Griezmann for Barcelona’s 38th minute equaliser was textbook Suárez.
He then had a tap in from a Messi assist to put Barcelona in front on 49 minutes, before La Real equalised through teenager Alexander Isak after an error in goal from Marc Ter Stegen.
While he may have lost a yard of pace and is not in the physical shape he once was, the Uruguayan is still a huge threat.
A return of nine goals in La Liga up to this point is testament to this.
Forward : Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Benzema’s 95th-minute equaliser away to Valencia in the Mestalla on Sunday night was his 12th league goal of the campaign.
The 31-year-old French striker has shown leadership qualities all season long in a campaign where Real Madrid have needed experienced players on the field to show the way.
The goal was a scrappy affair after Thibaut Courtois came up for the last play and rose highest to meet Toni Kroos’s last minute corner.
The ball was saved by Doménech in the Valencia goal but the rebound somehow made its way to Benzema who swept the ball home to gain a precious away point.
Real Madrid head into Wednesday’s rearranged Clásico away to Barcelona level on points with the Catalan club and will look to Benzema to lead their challenge at the Nou Camp.