2019/20 La Liga Matchday 19 Review – Madrid & Barça level at the Halfway Point

Espanyol vs Celta Vigo Match Preview & Prediction

The new decade in La Liga commenced over the weekend with all 20 sides in action as the season hit the official halfway point. Barcelona ended the weekend as the so-called ‘winter champions’ but they have been far less dominant than in recent seasons with Real Madrid level on points with the Catalans heading into the second half of the campaign. Here is our La Liga matchday 19 review:

La Liga Matchday 19 Results, Expected Goals & Highlights

Friday 3rd January 2020

Real Valladolid 2-2 Leganes (xG 1.91-2.03)

Sevilla 1-1 Athletic Club (xG 1.06-0.25)

Saturday 4th January 2020

Valencia 1-0 Eibar (xG 1.19-0.82)

Getafe 0-3 Real Madrid (xG 1.3-2.1)

Atletico Madrid 2-1 Levante (xG 1.9-0.95)

Espanyol 2-2 Barcelona (xG 0.73-2.21)

Sunday 5th January 2020

Granada 1-0 Mallorca (xG 2.07-0.77)

Real Sociedad 1-2 Villarreal (xG 1.01-1.51)

Alaves 1-1 Real Betis (xG 0.3-2.2)

Celta Vigo 1-1 Osasuna (xG 1.56-0.74)

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

xG data via Understat

Espanyol battle back to draw Barcelona Derby

A pulsating derby clash at the RCDE Stadium resulted in a 2-2 draw between Espanyol and Barcelona. Ernesto Valverde’s side were again slow out of the traps on the road with David Lopez heading bottom club Espanyol into the lead on 23 minutes. The hosts were playing their first match under former Alaves boss Abelardo, their third coach of the season.

However those familiar frailties were evident again in the 2nd Half as a Barcelona side inspired by the introduction of Arturo Vidal fought back to lead 2-1. There was to be a final twist though as Espanyol showed a resilience that has been so often lacking to grab a late leveller thanks to a fine finish from Wu Lei. Despite that, Espanyol remain bottom of La Liga and 4 points from safety while Barcelona just about hold onto top spot.

Real Madrid make a strong start to 2020

Real Madrid are now level on points with Barcelona now though after they cruised to a 3-0 win at Getafe. It was tougher than it sounds with Getafe doing many of the things they always do well although curiously they struggled to cope with Real Madrid’s set-piece threat with both of Madrid’s opening two goals coming from set-pieces.

The first was courtesy of a misjudged punch from keeper David Soria under pressure from Raphaël Varane who was initially credited with the goal. The second was unquestionably Varane’s as he powered a header home from close range before Luka Modric tucked in a 3rd in the dying embers of the game.

Atleti up to 3rd after beating Levante

Atletico Madrid have now reeled off 3 straight wins to move into 3rd place in La Liga, overtaking Sevilla who were held at home to a 1-1 draw by Athletic Club. All the action came in the first 18 minutes at the Wanda Metropolitano with Angel Correa and Felipe on target for Atleti either side of a Roger Marti goal for Levante. Los Rojiblancos are only 5 points off the top now and with the top two having both dropped points in 3 of their last 4 matches, they may just fancy that they can still creep their way back into this title race.

Matchday 19 in Numbers

  • Barcelona’s tally of 40 points is the lowest number accrued by any team topping La Liga at the halfway stage since it became ‘3 points for a win’ in 1995-96.
  • Real Madrid now have La Liga’s joint best defensive record with only 12 goals conceded, 11 fewer than Barcelona.
  • Barcelona are now unbeaten in 21 league derbies against their city rivals, with Saturday’s draw, only the 5th point Espanyol have picked up against their neighbours since winning at Camp Nou in February 2009.
  • Villarreal and Atletico Madrid have both won their last 3 league games. No other side has won more than 1 of their last 2 matches in La Liga.
  • Chimy Avila has scored 7 goals in his last 7 league games. Only Luis Suarez, Leo Messi and Karim Benzema can better his season tally of 9.

Up Next…

It’s a slightly strange start to the new year with this week seeing Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Valencia head to Saudi Arabia to contest the Spanish Super Cup. The Semi-Finals are this week with the Final this coming weekend. We will have match previews for all the games and we’ll also have ones for a few of the Copa del Rey 2nd Round ties this weekend with the other teams in La Liga all in action with the exception of Alaves who were knocked out in the 1st Round.

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About Mark Sochon 2070 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) hotmail.co.uk

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