La Liga Match Day 9 Review – Real Madrid lose again as Top Six takes unlikely Shape

La Liga predictions - Madrid derby

La Liga produced more upsets this weekend as Real Madrid’s misery continued with another shock defeat. While Barcelona did ultimately regain top spot, we will head into week 10 with Espanyol, Alaves and Real Valladolid all in the top six and all above Los Blancos, not to mention the likes of Valencia, Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao, who are struggling in the wrong half. Here were the results and main talking points from match-day 9:

La Liga Match Day 9 Results, Expected Goals & Highlights

Friday 19th October 2018

Celta Vigo 0-1 Alaves (xG 1.0-1.16)

Saturday 20th October 2018

Real Madrid 1-2 Levante (xG 2.96-1.78)

Valencia 1-1 Leganes (xG 1.18-0.97)

Villarreal 1-1 Atletico Madrid (xG 1.81-1.58)

Barcelona 4-2 Sevilla (xG 2.98-2.11)

Sunday 21st October 2018

Rayo Vallecano 1-2 Getafe (xG 0.32-0.53)

Eibar 1-1 Athletic Bilbao (xG 1.71-1.00)

Huesca 0-2 Espanyol (xG 0.29-1.90)

Real Betis 0-1 Real Valladolid (xG 0.82-0.51)

Monday 22nd October 2018

Real Sociedad 0-0 Girona (xG 0.6-0.55)

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Lopetegui’s future hanging by a thread as Levante win at the Bernabeu

It just goes from bad to worse for Real Madrid and Julen Lopetegui. After a fortnight’s international break to regroup, it seemed certain they would make a bright start to their game against Levante as they attempted to end a miserable run of over six hours without a goal and get back on track. However within 13 minutes they were 2-0 down with Roger Marti and José Luis Morales both netting for the visitors and Raphael Varane largely at fault for both goals to throw the most surprising twist yet into Real’s defensive woes, which have largely been overshadowed by their problems at the other end.

They did at least end their goal drought here with Marcelo scoring in the 2nd Half but the defeat leaves Julen Lopetegui on borrowed time most likely. He should stay in charge until the clásico but to say he needs a positive result in Barcelona would be an understatement. If you believe the Spanish media, his number may already be up with Florentino Perez far from satisfied with a man who was never his first choice.

Read more – The Wanda Metropolitano Match Experience

Barca win top-of-the-table clash but lose Messi for the Clásico

Barcelona will have the chance to go 7 points clear of Los Blancos when the two sides meet next weekend but they will now have to take on Real Madrid without Leo Messi. The Argentine fractured his arm and is set to miss three weeks which leaves Ernesto Valverde needing one or two of his other stars to step up. Barca beat Sevilla 4-2 on Saturday with Messi involved scoring and creating one to put his side 2-0 up early on before his injury. The result moved Barca to the top of La Liga and served as a bit of a reality check for Sevilla, whose goals were little more than late consolations.

Read more – La Liga Match Day 8 Review

Alaves, Espanyol & Valladolid all win to give top six unfamiliar look

It was another fantastic weekend for the smaller clubs punching above their weight in the top half. Not only did Levante win their 3rd game on the bounce, Alaves also backed up their win over Los Blancos by defeating Celta at Balaidos to briefly go top. They ended the weekend in 3rd though with Espanyol seeing off Huesca to move 2nd behind their city rivals. However the longest winning streak in La Liga currently belongs to Real Valladolid. The new boys claimed their 4th straight victory with a 1-0 win at Betis to leapfrog Los Blancos and go 6th.

Match Day 9 in Numbers

  • Celta lost at home for the 1st time in 2018 with their 1-0 defeat to Alaves. Celta are now without a win in 6 under Antonio Mohamed.
  • Real Madrid’s goal drought ended at 481 minutes, the worst sequence in the club’s history.
  • Los Blancos have lost 4 of their last 5 matches. They’d lost just 4 in 36 prior to that (90 minutes only).
  • There was only 1 home win on match-day 9, Barcelona’s 4-2 victory over Sevilla.
  • Athletic Bilbao have kept just 1 clean sheet in 19 matches after their 1-1 draw with Eibar.

Up Next…

The Champions League returns on Tuesday and Wednesday with Dortmund-Atletico and Barcelona-Inter the standout fixtures involving Spanish clubs. There is midweek La Liga action too though as the rearranged game between Rayo and Athletic takes place in Madrid, a big one with both teams having only recorded one win so far.

Match day 10 starts on Friday night and the madness of this season is summed up by the fact that Espanyol will go top if they beat Valladolid at home. The newly promoted visitors meanwhile would be 2nd if they can record a 5th straight win! The main event of the weekend though is the small matter of the clasico which takes place at Camp Nou on Sunday at 16:15 and it will be a slightly strange one given it will feature neither Leo Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo.

Keep tabs on our La Liga predictions for more analysis ahead of the next round of fixtures.


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About Mark Sochon 2072 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has been writing about Spanish football since 2014 and regularly attends and covers matches across Spain. His work has also been published by various newspapers and websites including These Football Times, World Soccer and Guardian Sport. Available for freelance work: marksochon (at)