It’s the second half of the La liga season now officially and it’s crunch time as the top three are closer than ever. After Real Madrid’s comfortable whitewash of Real Betis on Saturday, the top 2 could not keep up with the pace, thereby putting Los Blancos just one point away from first position. At the bottom it’s now or never for some teams as the scramble continues for the likes of Rayo Vallecano, Real Betis, Real Valladolid and Celta Vigo.
For us at La liga blog, we take this time to bring to you the best eleven performers of Match Round 20 after carefully combing through the ten centres and matches of the round.
Against all odds, Levante (who in the first game of the season were thumped 7-0 by Barcelona) got a point at their Estadi Ciutat de València home ground. Their commendable feat was down to brave and stout defending and goalkeeper Keylor Navas making out-of-this-world-saves. The Costa Rican shot stopper made at least 6 saves, notably stopping Lionel Messi and Cristian Tello late on in the game. Calm, assuring and always exuding confidence, Navas was right on top of his game against Barcelona.
At Right-back, Greece defender Loukas Vyntra was influential on both sides of the pitch as he headed Levante ahead and made sure Levante kept it tight at the rear to secure a point for Joaquin Caparros’ men. Another Levante defender, veteran of the side Juanfran led by example time and again putting his neck on the line to secure a hard fought point for his team. Juanfran made a goal line clearance that kept Levante alive in the game, and was impeccable aerially especially as he won all his aerial duels.
Finally showing why he’s hailed as one of the best centre backs in the league, Villareal’s 23 year-old Mateo Musacchio was once again excellent, controlling the Yellow Submarines back line, giving a platform for the more offensive players to express themselves. Musacchio had a total of seven tackles in his side’s 2-0 win over Almeria, more than any other player as he delivered a man of the match show.
Completing the backline at left back is Real Madrid’s Brazilian Marcelo who was influential going forward for the Whites as they crushed Real Betis. He wasn’t deficient in his defensive duties either as his 5 tackles was a joint game high.
Our three-man midfield is led by Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera who grabbed a goal and stood out in Athletic Bilbao’s comeback win at the San Mames against Real Valladolid. His teammate Ibai Gomez was also in great form showing he could be influential for Valverde’s side having not been a regular so far this season. Ibai was a constant threat (with a game high of eight shots) on Valladolid’s goal and was rewarded, getting his side’s equaliser as well as their third.
Finally in midfield, the man of the moment in Real Madrid’s camp – Luka Modric. The little maestro from Croatia ran the show dribbling, passing, tackling, shooting and covering almost every piece of grass as Real Madrid went on to seal a comfortable 5-0 win away from home.
His teammate and Ballon d’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo leads the forward line after another typical day at the office. Ronaldo crashed in a screamer to put Real on course for the win and grabbed the assist for youngster Morata’s final goal in Real Madrid’s 5-0 win away from home vs Real Betis.
Espanyol striker Sergio Garcia led his side all through and grabbed a late winner for good measure in his side’s hard fought 1-0 home win over Celta Vigo.
Finally, completing our team of the week is Real Sociedad striker, Imanol Agirretxe. The Number 9 was in poacher mode steaming in to put his side ahead twice early on in their 2-all draw with Getafe at the Colliseum.
Do you agree with our picks? Who would you rather have in your Team of the Week? Drop your comments below.