After 17 rounds of excitement, twists and surprises, it’s finally time for a much deserved break in the Spanish La liga. Before the break though, it’s another great opportunity to recognize those outstanding 11 players who made the biggest impact in match week 17 in our La Liga team of the week feature.
Almeria goalkeeper Esteban is our pick between the sticks after his sterling show for his side away at struggling Real Betis. The former Sevilla shot stopper made 8 crucial saves that kept his side in the match for over 80 minutes as they held on for all three points.
In defence, though he ended up on the losing side, Valencia’s Jeremy Mathieu delivered a performance that deserved better. The Frenchman defended admirably and scored an all-important equaliser just when Real Madrid looked like they were in the ascendancy. Mathieu proved a constant threat in set-piece situations as Real Madrid struggled with his height and presence.
Athletic Bilbao defender Mikel San Jose continued his impressive form for the Basque side as he proved a constant goal threat for his side in their 2-1 victory against Rayo Vallecano at the San Mames. Though culpable for Rayo’s equalizer, the promising centre-back’s constant threat on the offensive wins our heart.
Atletico Madrid fell to an early goal at home against Levante as the Rojiblanco looked to ensure they at least finished joint top going into the winter break. An upset was on the cards, but Diego Godin was going to have none of that as he rose highest to head in a vital equaliser just before the break and ultimately set his side on the way to a 3-2 win.
Javier Mascherano completes our 4-man defence after showing great awareness and solidity at the back for Barcelona in their memorable comeback from two goals down at the Coliseum against a dangerous Getafe side. The Argentine had a game-high 7 tackles, and led what looked a weakened Barca back four.
Almeria’s Nigerian midfielder Ramon Azeez wins a spot in the team after securing all three points for his side with a well taken 4th minute goal. Another Barcelona man Cesc Fabregas is alongside the Nigerian in midfield after scoring twice and providing a crucial assist in his side’s comeback win against Getafe. Playing in the ‘false 9’ role, Fab showed impressive awareness and positioning to grab his side’s fourth goal.
Espanyol’s Christian Stuani scored a brace that propelled his side to a 4-2 win against Real Valladolid thereby winning a place on the wings in our four-man midfield. Barcelona man, and unarguably the star man of the round Pedro Rodriguez completes the midfield line-up after his superb show at Getafe. With no Messi and no Neymar, the responsibility fell on the shoulders of Pedro; he didn’t disappoint. The Spanish international struck a well-timed hattrick, grabbed an assist, and even had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside.
Up front, Mexican forward Carlos Vela gets one of two spots after scoring twice in Real Sociedad’s 3-1 away win at Granada. Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa completes this week’s team after almost single-handedly lifting Atleti to all three points against a stubborn Levante side, thereby shooting to the top in the race for the Pichichi. If Atleti will be any more threatening after the winter break, it will be due to the prowess of the Brazilian.