La Liga returned from the international break with some really tasty fixtures, most notably in the Basque Country where Real Madrid travelled to Bilbao while Barcelona were in San Sebastian. Read on for highlights, headlines, expected goals and more from the fourth match-day.
La Liga Match Day 4 Results, Expected Goals & Highlights
Huesca 0-1 Rayo Vallecano (xG 1.67-1.21)
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Eibar (xG 2.47-1.21)
Real Sociedad 1-2 Barcelona (xG 1.48-1.76)
Valencia 0-0 Real Betis (xG 1.05-1.22)
Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Real Madrid (xG 1.45-1.96)
Leganes 0-1 Villarreal (xG 1.22-0.53)
Espanyol 1-0 Levante (xG 1.62-0.69)
Real Valladolid 0-1 Alaves (xG 1.10-0.85)
Sevilla 0-2 Getafe (xG 1.08-2.13)
Girona 3-2 Celta Vigo (xG 1.72-0.9)
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Barca come back to win as the new Anoeta Opens
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 16, 2018
Barcelona have had their struggles in San Sebastian over the past decade but they finally appear to have laid the curse to rest with two league wins in the Basque seaside city this year. For La Real, it was promising to be a dream start to life at their newly renovated home when Aritz Elustondo’s thumping volley gave them the lead in just the 12th minute. However there was an air of familiarity to events in the Second Half as some poor goalkeeping from Gerónimo Rulli allowed Barcelona to turn the game on its head with two goals in four minutes.
It certainly wasn’t a vintage Barca display with two scrappy set-piece goals seeing them to victory but they unquestionably still have the knack for winning ugly under Ernesto Valverde, a fact highlighted by the two Madrid clubs failing to do likewise in their respective games on Saturday.
Read more: Spanish Football 2018/19 key dates
Madrid giants slip up
Hoy la actuación de Dmitrovic fue soberbia para el punto del #Eibar en el Wanda Metropolitano. El arquero serbio estuvo en modo “Lev Yashin” pero en la última jugada del encuentro no pudo evitar el GOL de Borja Garcés. Actuación brutal del guardameta del Eibar.#LaLiga ?? pic.twitter.com/g27E0BoSwX
— Fútbol Mundial (@iFutbola) September 15, 2018
Saturday always promised to be the day when the first blow would be struck in the Spanish title race with Barcelona and Real Madrid both holding 100% records before difficult games in the Basque Country. Real had arguably been the more impressive of the two sides up until this weekend but they find themselves two points behind Barcelona after a 1-1 draw at San Mames. Julen Lopetegui surprisingly left both Isco and Casemiro on the bench as Dani Ceballos was handed a start but the youngster was swiftly withdrawn for Casemiro at Half-Time with Los Blancos one down. Isco also came on and netted the leveller on the end of a fine right-footed cross from Gareth Bale. However Real couldn’t complete the comeback as they had to settle for their third straight draw against Athletic in La Liga.
Earlier in the day, Atletico Madrid had also dropped points against Basque opposition with a dramatic conclusion to the end of their game against Eibar at the Wanda Metropolitano. Eibar had already hit the woodwork twice when they took the lead thanks to Sergi Enrich’s 87th minute goal. However they’d also been dependent on some inspired goalkeeping from Marko Dmitrović and the Serb was finally beaten when Atleti’s young substitute Borja Garcés finished in Stoppage Time to rescue a point. However the result still leaves Diego Simone’s side in mid-table and 7 points behind leaders Barcelona.
Read more: Can Atleti win La Liga?
Angel Double sinks Sevilla
FINAL #SevillaFCGetafe 0-2
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) September 16, 2018
While Eibar briefly threatened to be on course for the shock result of the season so far at the Wanda, it was Getafe who ultimately pulled off the upset of certainly the weekend the following day. Their 2-0 win at Sevilla inflicted back-to-back defeats on Pablo Machin’s side as Angel bagged a brace to the dismay of the Andalusian crowd. Given Getafe pushed Sevilla hard in the race for Europa League football last term, perhaps we shouldn’t be totally stunned by the result and it certainly suggests they are capable of pushing for at least a top half finish again this term. Only Barca and Real can better their tally of 7 points as they recorded a third straight clean sheet.
Read more: Match-Day Three Review
The Weekend in Numbers
- Sevilla’s defeat to Getafe was their 4th at home in La Liga in 2018. They didn’t lose once at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in 2017.
- 26,756 were at the Anoeta on Saturday, 2,000 up on their highest attendance last season.
- Barcelona have now won 6 straight games against Real Sociedad in all competitions having gone 11 years without a league win at the Anoeta before their 4-2 success in January.
- There were just 18 goals this weekend in La Liga, 5 of which came in the Monday night game.
- The two sides with the best defensive records in La Liga are Getafe and 19th placed Real Valladolid. Both teams have let in just 2 goals in 4 matches so far although the new boys are still waiting for their first goal.
This week sees all of Spain’s European participants in either Champions League or Europa League action. La Liga returns on Friday as Huesca take on Real Sociedad in the beginning of a hectic 11 day period, which sees Spanish top flight action on 10 of those days with a full midweek schedule next week. Next weekend’s action sees derbies in Catalonia and the Valencia region while Atletico Madrid make the short trip to Getafe desperate to get their faltering campaign going.
Keep tabs on our La Liga match predictions and previews for more analysis ahead of match-days five and six.
Use the comments for your thoughts and questions on the weekend’s action!