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La Liga Weekly: Real Madrid and Barcelona win late on, Villarreal continue to struggle

The La Liga table is beginning to take shape, after another exciting week in Spain.

Here’s a look at what went down on Matchday 4.

Bellingham saves Real Madrid again

Real Madrid continued their perfect start to the season, but it didn’t come without its fair share of drama against Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side fell behind early in the game when an errant pass from Fran Garcia put Borja Mayoral through on goal. The striker rounded Kepa in the Madrid goal to make it 1-0 in the 11th minute.

Garcia looked to make amends at the other end, as he first set up Luka Modric and then Joselu, but both chances were saved by David Soria.

The intense pressure from the home side paid off early in the second half. Following a corner for Madrid, Getafe were unable to clear their lines and the ball fell to Joselu, who smashed home from close range.

Toni Kroos’ introduction in the second half for Eduardo Camavinga changed the game in Madrid’s favour, as the German gave a masterclass on dictating play from midfield. They hit the post twice, first through Kroos and then Dani Carvajal.

Soria was looking impenetrable in the Getafe goal, but he made an error in the fourth minute of stoppage time, which turned out to be the final chapter of the game.

A long-distance by Lucas Vasquez was spilt by the goalkeeper, and Jude Bellingham followed up to score the winner.

Bellingham has now scored in each of his first four games for the club, and is proving to be worth every penny Madrid paid for him in the summer.

Ancelotti does have his share of problems, and this win was by no means convincing, but Madrid have found a way to get all three points every week.

They sit top of the table after four games, with 12 points out of 12.

Barcelona made to sweat at Osasuna

Barcelona needed a late penalty from Robert Lewandowski to beat Osasuna 2-1 at El Sadar. The defending champions didn’t look at their best, as Xavi tries to find the best combination with the squad at his disposal.

In a game of few clear-cut chances, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen made a couple of smart saves to keep the scores level in the first half.

Barcelona took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Jules Kounde rose highest to head in a corner.

Xavi’s side struggled to gain control in the second half as the home side rallied for an equaliser buoyed by their fans.

Despite not creating any clear openings, Osasuna got their goal 15 minutes from time. Substitute Chimy Avila received the ball on the edge of the box and held off a couple of defenders before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner.

Barcelona had brought on a lot of attacking talent on the pitch, including their late summer signings – Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo. However, they struggled to break down a resolute Osasuna defence.

One mistake brought about the home side’s downfall. A ball over the top was received by Lewandowski in the box, and the Polish striker was brought down by Alejandro Catena.

A penalty was given and the defender was also given a red card following a VAR review for the denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Lewandowski calmly converted the spot-kick, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way to give Barcelona all three points.

The Blaugrana have hardly been at their best this season but have still accumulated 10 points from their opening four games.

Around the grounds

In the first game of the weekend, Villarreal’s woes continued in a 3-1 away defeat at Cadiz. The Yellow Submarine took a 10th-minute lead through Alexander Sorloth but were pegged by eight minutes later by Chris Ramos.

Quique Setien saw his side reduced to ten men when left-back Alfonso Pedraza was sent off for headbutting an opponent.

Things only got worse for the away side, as they conceded a penalty on the half-hour mark, which Darwin Machis converted. The Venezuelan then sealed the three points for Cadiz, completing his brace five minutes into the second half.

Real Sociedad and Granada played out the highest-scoring match of the weekend, with La Real coming out 5-3 winners.

Takefusa Kubo played a starring role, scoring twice for Sociedad. The other goals came from Martin Zubmendi, Ander Barrenetxea and an own goal from Granada defender Miki Bosch.

Girona’s dream start to the campaign continued with a 1-0 home win against Cadiz. Portu scored the winner for the hosts with two minutes to go, seeing Girona end Gameweek 4 second in the table.

Celta Vigo beat Almeria 3-2 in a thrilling game, which saw Rafael Benitez’s side go 2-0 up before being pegged back. The winner for Celta came three minutes from time through teenager Williot Swedberg.

Alaves and Real Betis recorded 1-0 home wins against Valencia and Rayo Vallecano, respectively.

Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao played out a goalless draw, while the game between Atletico Madrid and Sevilla was postponed due to forecasts of torrential rain in the Spanish capital.

Player of the week

Real Sociedad’s Takefusa Kubo has had a fantastic start to the 2023/24 campaign, as he netted twice against Granada this week.

The Japanese winger has bagged four goals and three assists and is emerging as a star player for Imanol Alguacil in his second season at the club.

At the age of just 22, the sky is the limit for the former Madrid man.

Looking ahead

The leagues around Europe will take a break next weekend as the players travel to represent their international teams.

In Gameweek 5, Madrid’s 100% record will be tested by Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Barcelona also have a tough assignment on their hands as they host Betis.

Sevilla will look to gain their first points of the season at home to Las Palmas, who are also in the relegation zone after four weeks.

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