2019/20 La Liga Matchday 21 Review – Real Madrid take Pole Position

Real Valladolid vs Espanyol Match Preview & Prediction

As weekends go, this wasn’t La Liga’s finest hour with some dull games and some more disappointing showings from the sides that will be challenged with taking on the best in Europe in a few weeks time. Ultimately it was a good matchday for Real Madrid who now have to be seen as the favourites to win the title this season. Here is our La Liga matchday 21 review:

La Liga Matchday 21 Results, Expected Goals & Highlights

Friday 24th January 2020

Osasuna 2-0 Levante (xG: 1.62-0.6)

Saturday 25th January 2020

Espanyol 1-1 Athletic Club (xG: 0.54-0.66)

Valencia 2-0 Barcelona (xG: 1.39-1.15)

Alaves 1-2 Villarreal (xG: 0.97-1.82)

Sevilla 2-0 Granada (xG: 0.80-0.48)

Sunday 26th January 2020

Atletico Madrid 0-0 Leganes (xG: 0.87-0.4)

Celta Vigo 0-0 Eibar (xG: 1.03-0.22)

Getafe 1-0 Real Betis (xG: 1.38-1.31)

Real Sociedad 3-0 Mallorca (xG: 2.23-0.91)

Real Valladolid 0-1 Real Madrid (xG: 0.19-0.54)

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

xG data via Understat

Valencia see off poor Barça

Barcelona’s first two games under Quique Setien suggested they may very well come unstuck when they came up against stronger opposition and that was exactly how it proved on Saturday at Mestalla. Again the Catalans dominated the ball, chalking up possession figures of 74% but even by Setien’s admission there were too many sideways passes and a lack of inspiration in the final third. Valencia were content to suck up the pressure and attack with pace when the opportunity presented and in the end they were worthy winners with Maxi Gomez the key figure.

The Uruguayan’s deflected effort broke the deadlock and was eventually credited as a Jordi Alba own goal. There was no doubts about the second though as Gomez curled home after another incisive break. Valencia also had a goal ruled out and missed a penalty in the game. Barcelona have a lot of work to do and it needs to be done quickly with some huge games coming up in a key phase in the season.

Real Madrid top after winning ugly at Valladolid

Real Madrid made Barcelona pay for their poor showing in Valencia with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Real Valladolid. Nacho was the unlikely match winner in a game that mirrored much of Sunday’s action in the Spanish top flight in that it lacked much in the way of excitement. It’s on nights like these that championships are won though and Real Madrid are certainly now the favourites to win the Spanish title again with a 3 point advantage over an out of sorts Barcelona.

Getafe replace Atleti in the Top Four

It wasn’t a good weekend for the other big Madrid club though and there is now pressure growing on both Diego Simeone and his players heading into next weekend’s derby at the Bernabeu. Atleti are no longer in the top four after their third poor result (a 0-0 home draw against bottom club Leganes) in almost certainly the worst week they’ve had under the stewardship of Cholo. They were replaced in 4th by Getafe who beat Real Betis 1-0 on Sunday with Angel scoring a late penalty.

Matchday 21 in Numbers

  • Sunday saw 269 minutes of football take place in La Liga before the 1st goal – Angel Rodriguez’s penalty for Getafe against Betis.
  • Barcelona have scored just 3 goals in 3 competitive matches under Quique Setien despite having 74% or more possession in all 3 games (Granada, Ibiza & Valencia)
  • Real Madrid top La Liga for the 1st time since match-day 8. Not since their 2016/17 title win have they lead the league at such an advanced stage in the season.
  • Atletico Madrid have scored just 1 goal in their last 3 competitive games (vs Eibar, Cultural Leonesa & Leganes), losing 2 of those matches and drawing 1.
  • Only 5 teams in La Liga have scored fewer goals than the 22 Atletico Madrid have managed.

Up Next…

Real Madrid host neighbours Atleti next weekend in La Liga as Los Blancos aim to cement top spot. Before then though there’s Copa del Rey last 16 action this week with some intriguing ties including Real Madrid’s trip to Zaragoza and Cultural Leonesa’s home game against Valencia. We will have match previews for all the games from matchday 22 which includes the big Madrid derby at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

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About Mark Sochon 2075 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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