Champions Atletico Madrid are almost mathematically out of contention, and their goalless draw against Athletic Bilbao didn’t do their chances any good. Iago Herrerín was the man who ensured the champions picked up only a solitary point, without a goal. The 27-year-old made a string of smart saves, helping Athletic keep a strong defence.
Leading in defence for our team of the week is Barcelona right back Dani Alves. While there are still doubts as to whether he will remain at Nou Camp next season, the Brazilian has put all of that aside. He was yet at his best as Barca trounced Cordoba 8-0, delivering two good assists, as well as proving a good attacking outlet all game long.
Valencia defenders Nicolas Otamendi and Jose Gaya complete our three-man defence. Both players played huge roles as Los Che beat Eibar 3-1 at Mestalla. Centreback, Otamendi was at his imposing best, scoring Valencia’s first of the night – off a Gaya cross – and keeping Valencia’s defensive shape when on the back foot. The Argentine continued to enjoy a remarkable season, and is arguably the best centre back in the league this season.
Gaya meanwhile showed yet again why he’s keenly followed by many European big boys, including Real Madrid. He’s always assured and calm with or without possession, and a willing attacking outlet for Nuno Espirito Santos’ side. He had quite a good assist for Otamendi’s goal too.
In midfield, another Valencia player Dani Parejo, makes the cut. He continues to be an integral part of the Valencia side as they push for Champions League football, and he got his 12th league goal of the season with a super finish in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Eibar. It was also his free kick which hit the woodwork that led to Valencia’s third.
Real Sociedad were impeccable on Friday, tearing apart a hapless Levante side, and they have midfielder Markel Bergara to thank for most of what they got on the night. The 29-year-old scored his side’s important second goal via a corner kick, and was a calming influence in midfield for David Moyes’ men.
Ivan Rakitic was another player who had a good round. The Croatian midfielder was at his best in Barcelona’s 8-0 thrashing of Cordoba, scoring his side’s first goal which opened the floodgates. Rakitic also grabbed an assist for good measure.
Up front, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are obvious choices, after they led Barcelona’s onslaught on Cordoba. Luis Suarez bagged his first Barcelona hat trick – a perfect hat trick – with three well taken goals, as well as getting an assist in what was a complete performance. Messi meanwhile was his typical self, scoring his 39th and 40th league goals of the season after he had helped Barca open scoring with a well-weighted ball to Ivan Rakitic. He could have had a hat trick, but benevolently left a penalty to Neymar later on in the game.
Meanwhile at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Cristiano Ronaldo was glad to complete a hat trick of his own, to give Real Madrid a 3-2 win away at Sevilla. The Portuguese, who’d been on a mini goal drought chose the right time to end his poor scoring form, and he did so in style too. He is now on 42 league goals for Real Madrid this season.
Not in the same league as Messi, Suarez and Ronaldo, but Granada striker Youssef El-Arabi surely deserves his place in our team. The 28-year-old came up with the goods, scoring a brace in a 2-1 win over Getafe. The three points were crucial, as it means Granada still have good hopes of staying up this season.