There was plenty of action and talking points after Jornada 20 in La Liga this weekend.
Let’s have a look at some of those talking points in more detail now.
Casemiro double sees off stubborn Sevilla
Real Madrid were 2-1 winners in the clash with former coach Julien Lopetegui’s Sevilla side in the Bernabeau on Saturday afternoon.
Two second-half Casemiro goals, either side of a well-taken Luuk de Jong equaliser, were enough to maintain Los Blancos promising start to the new year.
Luka Jovic started upfront for Zidane’s side and produced a wonderful piece of skill to backheel to Casemiro, who finished smartly to open the scoring.
Madrid had scored three times away to Getafe in Jornada 19 and will be hoping Jovic, Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior and Gareth Bale if available, can find the net on a more consistent basis, like Karim Benzema has, if they are to maintain their title challenge.
Setién era off to a winning start
Barcelona took all three points against Granada on Sunday night thanks to a second-half scoring intervention from Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp.
In what was new head coach Quique Setién’s first game in charge of the Blaugrana, the home side had 82% possession without creating too many clearcut chances.
The Cantabrian coach went for a 3-1-4-2 formation with Sergio Busquets at the base of a midfield which had Jordi Alba in an advanced role on the left-hand side, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal in the middle and 17-year-old Guinean Ansu Fati positioned on the right.
The loss of Luis Suarez, who was enjoying a consistent run of form, for possibly three months or more because of a knee injury, is a setback for Barca, who had Griezmann and Messi playing up front at the weekend.
Atletico Madrid well-beaten at Eibar
Eibar were well-deserving 2-0 winners at a rainy Ipurua on Saturday night against Atletico Madrid.
Los Colchoneros who are in third position after the weekend, have scored just 22 times this season in La Liga, 16 fewer than city rivals Real Madrid, while Barcelona have scored 50.
Angel Correa has made a productive start to 2020 in attack, however, the form of Joao Felix may be starting to worry Simeone who substituted the Portuguese forward after 83 minutes as Atleti chased an equaliser, both the player and the coach cutting a frustrated figure at the time.
Atletico lie eight points joint leaders Real Madrid Barcelona in the table and will hope the goals start to flow from somewhere, anywhere, sometime soon.
Espanyol win away at Villarreal
One of the most impressive results of the weekend was basement side Espanyol’s 2-1 away win at Villarreal, their third victory on the road in this league campaign.
The Barcelona-based side had just 32% possession which was to be expected against a Villarreal side high in confidence after three consecutive league wins.
They did, however, create many chances, two headed goals from David Lopez and new signing Raúl de Tomás had Los Pericos in a strong position just after the break.
Santi Cazorla pulled a goal back from the penalty spot for the home side but Espanyol held on for a precious three points.
The recent signings of Leandro Cabrera from Getafe and the scorer of the second goal on Sunday, Raúl de Tomás from Benfica show that the club are willing to back coach Abelardo Fernandez in the transfer market as the Catalans strive to climb the table.
They are currently in last place in La Liga on 14 points, level with second from bottom Leganes, with both sides four from safety.
Mallorca put four past Valencia
A brace for Ante Budimir, one a piece for Dani Rodríguez and Antonio Raíllo ensured a 4-1 victory for Mallorca against visitors Valencia at Iberostar Estadio on Sunday afternoon.
Mallorca are in 17th position in the table after the weekend and will hope this result can push them towards the safety of mid-table.
Valencia in seventh were on a good run of league form before this game and may put this performance down to a post Supercopa hangover.
They had captain Dani Parejo sent off early in the second-half and scored a late consolation goal through Ferrán Torres.
There are ten points separating Atletico Madrid (35) in third place and Osasuna (25) in 13th position in the table.
A good run from any of the teams in the middle third could see Champions League qualification become a reality.
Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Valencia and Getafe are mathematically in strong positions to challenge Atletico Madrid and Sevilla for the coveted places in Europe’s premium club competition.
Read Also – La Liga Team of the Week Jornada 20