2019/20 La Liga Matchday 18 Review – Barça end 2019 on top & Espanyol sack Machin

Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao Match Preview & Prediction

There will be no more football in La Liga this year or indeed this decade after the final round of fixtures was played over the weekend. As 2019 rolls into 2020, Barcelona will be on top with a two point advantage on Real Madrid after Los Blancos were held to their second successive 0-0 draw following on from the rearranged Clasico in midweek. Here was the best of the action from La Liga matchday 18:

La Liga Matchday 18 Results, Expected Goals & Highlights

Friday 20th December 2019

Eibar 3-0 Granada (xG 2.55-1.72)

Saturday 21st December 2019

Mallorca 0-2 Sevilla (xG 0.79-1.81)

Barcelona 4-1 Alaves (xG 1.43-0.43)

Villarreal 1-0 Getafe (xG 2.63-0.65)

Real Valladolid 1-1 Valencia (xG 0.72-0.84)

Sunday 22nd December 2019

Leganes 2-0 Espanyol (xG 0.85-0.65)

Osasuna 3-4 Real Sociedad (xG 3.11-2.29)

Real Betis 1-2 Atletico Madrid (xG 0.92-1.42)

Levante 3-1 Celta Vigo (xG 2.69-1.45)

Real Madrid 0-0 Athletic Club (xG 2.95-0.42)

Links lead to Youtube highlights via the official LaLiga channel and may contain ads.

xG data via Understat

Barça top La Liga by 2 points after Athletic draw at Bernabeu

Barcelona will be top of La Liga by 2 points heading into 2020 but Real Madrid will be wondering quite how. They felt as though they did enough to win last week’s Clasico with a couple of decisions going against them much to the frustration of Zinedine Zidane and his team. On Sunday against Athletic, Real Madrid drew 0-0 again, this time being denied three times by the woodwork as the Basques claimed a valuable point. This was just 24 hours after Barça had easily swept Alaves aside with Luis Suarez playing a starring role and Leo Messi scoring again from outside the area.

A Thriller at El Sadar

The game of the weekend was certainly the Basque derby at El Sadar. It saw Real Sociedad go 3-0 up with a combination of defensive errors and the brilliance of Martin Odegaard appearing to kill the game off in the 1st Half. However Osasuna fought back well with Chimy Avila on target twice to take his season tally to 8. It wasn’t enough to prevent the hosts from defeat though as La Real claimed another valuable away victory to move up to 5th heading into the new year.

Espanyol sack Machin following Leganes defeat

The bottom two met at Butarque on Sunday lunchtime and it was Leganes who emerged decisive victors over Espanyol. The South Madrid side are now just 2 points from safety having looked in danger of being completely cut adrift a few weeks back. It’s looking very bleak for Espanyol now though and the Catalans responded by sacking their second coach of the season on Monday as Pablo Machin departed after less than three months in the job.

Matchday 18 in Numbers

  • Real Madrid have drawn consecutive games 0-0 in La Liga for the first time in 13 years.
  • Atleti only had 33% possession in their 2-1 win at Real Betis.
  • Luis Suarez was involved in all 4 Barcelona goals against Alaves (3 assists, 1 goal).
  • Athletic Club avoided defeat at the Bernabeu for only the 2nd time in 16 competitive visits.
  • Only 3 players have scored more goals than Chimy Avila (8) this season in La Liga and only 2 have had more shots (Messi & Benzema).

Up Next…

There are no more games in 2019 with La Liga breaking up for a short break over the festive period. However January will be a very busy month with Copa del Rey, Supercopa and plenty of league action to look forward to. The first round of fixtures in January sees Real Valladolid and Leganes kick things off on Friday 3rd January with both Barcelona and Real Madrid faced with away derby fixtures that weekend.

Featured Image, CC BY 2.0

Daniel Garcia
About Daniel Garcia 298 Articles
Daniel is a football writer based in Spain. He has an extensive knowledge of LaLiga history and closely follows current events in the Spanish top flight.

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