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La Liga Weekly: Barcelona rampant against Betis while Valencia shock Atletico

There were some significant results this week in La Liga, with Real Madrid continuing their 100% record and Sevilla earning their first points.

Here’s a look at all the events from Matchday 5.

Barcelona & Real Madrid record impressive home wins

Barcelona produced their best performance of the season so far, with a 5-0 win over Real Betis at the Olimpic Stadium. Xavi gave first starts to summer signings Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo, and they were both on the scoresheet.

The Blaugrana dominated from the outset and found it easy to play through the Betis press. The deadlock was broken in the 25th minute when a ball from midfield from Oriol Romeu found Felix in the box.

The Portuguese forward miskicked his initial attempt but was quickest to react to the rebound, rounding the goalkeeper and finishing from a tight angle for his first goal for the club.

Seven minutes later, Andreas Christensen’s pass was expertly dummied by Felix to put Robert Lewandowski through, and the striker made no mistake with his finish.

Ferran Torres made it 3-0 on the hour mark with an inch-perfect free-kick which curled around the wall and into the back of the net.

Raphinha was then brought on, and it took the Brazilian less than five minutes to get on the scoresheet, rifling home a low shot from 25 yards.

Cancelo completed the rout with 10 minutes to play with a fine solo effort, beating two players before arrowing a shot into the bottom corner. All in all, it was a 70th birthday to forget for Manuel Pellegrini.

Madrid once again dug themselves out of a hole, coming from behind to beat Real Sociedad 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Carlo Ancelotti saw his side fall behind inside five minutes when in-form Takefusa Kubo picked out Ander Berrenetxea inside the box. The Spaniard’s initial effort was saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga, but he managed to bundle in the rebound.

Kubo had a big impact on the game down Sociedad’s right, often getting the better of Fran Garcia.

The Japanese winger thought he had made it 2-0 with a sumptuous curling shot from outside the box on 10 minutes, but Mikel Oyarzabal was adjudged to be in an offside position and in line with the eyesight of Kepa.

At the other end, Joselu hit the bar when it seemed easier to score than miss, while Sociedad goalkeeper Alex Remiro made smart saves to keep out Rodrigo and Jude Bellingham.

On the half-hour mark, Kubo once again got the better of Garcia and lofted in a cross for Mikel Merino, whose header was well-saved by Kepa.

A response was expected by the home side in the second half, and the equaliser came just seconds after the restart.

Federico Valverde, known for his goalscoring prowess from outside the box, was at it again, meeting a cross from Fran Garcia with expert precision. The ball flew past Remiro, hit the inside of the post and went in.

The winner came on 60 minutes when Fran Garcia once again found himself with space to work with on the left. He put in a fantastic cross for Joselu, and the striker made no mistake with his headed finish.

Madrid remain the only team with maximum points after five games and are the early pacesetters in La Liga this season.

Valencia thrash Atletico Madrid at Mestalla

Ruben Baraja’s Valencia got back to winning ways after two consecutive losses, beating Atletico Madrid 3-0 at the Mestalla.

The home side, who had started the campaign with two wins and two defeats, were not the favourites going into this game, but that didn’t seem to deter them at all.

The first goal came inside five minutes when summer signing Sergi Canos broke down the left and put in a low cross. Hugo Duro got ahead of his man in the box and finished high past Jan Oblak.

Duro made it 2-0 on the half-hour mark. The striker was put through by Fran Perez before he bamboozled Stefan Savic with a fake shot and duly finished with a delicate chip.

Atleti were dominating possession but not creating clear-cut chances. They came close five minutes into the second half when Cesar Azplicueta’s cross found Alvaro Morata, but the latter’s header was saved at his near post by Giorgi Mamardashvili.

The result was put beyond doubt five minutes later when Javi Guerra finished expertly from outside the box after beating his man.

This ends Atleti’s unbeaten start to the season, while Valencia look like they will not be in another relegation battle.

Sevilla earn first victory of the season against Las Palmas

The reigning Europa League champions came into this game at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on the back of a horrendous start to the campaign, with three losses on the bounce.

Las Palmas were also looking for their first win but had impressed with their attractive brand of football.

The away side dominated possession as expected, but Sevilla had the better chances. Las Palmas goalkeeper Alvaro Valles had to be at his best to Rafa Mir on more than one occasion. He also denied Djibril Sow early in the second half while being one-on-one.

Two substitutes made the difference for Jose Luis Mendilibar, with 20 minutes to go on the clock. A cross from the right onto the head of Youssef El-Nesyri was acrobatically saved by Valles, but Dodi Lukebakio was on hand to smash home the rebound.

Mendilibar will hope this can kickstart his side’s season, especially ahead of the Champions League campaign soon to start.

For Garcia Pimienta and Las Palmas, they need to find a way to start scoring more goals to get out of the relegation zone.

Girona make it four wins in a row

Girona’s dream start to the campaign continued as they put Granada to the sword with a 4-2 away victory at the Los Carmenes.

Michel’s side are joint-second in the table with Barcelona, with four wins and one draw in their opening five games.

They may be punching well above their weight, but their expressive, free-flowing style of football has caught the eye.

Girona were 3-0 up before half-time. Victor Tsigankov and Savio both scored absolute screamers before midfielder David Lopez headed in a free-kick to all but put the result beyond doubt before the break.

Granada pulled one back through Myrto Uzuni before setting up a grandstand finish with five minutes to go with a second from Lucas Boye.

However, Girona had the final say when Manchester City loanee Yan Couto scored the final goal of the game to make it 4-2.

Around the grounds

In the first game of the week on Friday night, Rayo Vallecano beat Alaves 2-0 at home, with a penalty from Isi Palazon and a strike by Jorge de Frutos.

Almeria are at the bottom of the table after five weeks, after they took the lead but lost 2-1 away at Villarreal.

Sergio Akieme gave the away side the lead in the opening period before goals in first-half and second-half stoppage time by Gerard Moreno and Alexander Sorloth gave Quique Setien’s men a much-needed three points.

Athletic Bilbao produced a fine second-half performance to beat Cadiz 3-0 at home, with goals from Gorka Guruzeta, Asier Villalibre and Inaki Williams.

Getafe won a thriller against Osasuna, taking the lead twice before being pegged back on both occasions. The fifth and final goal of the game came with four minutes remaining when Nemanja Maksimovic rose highest to head in a corner.

Celta Vigo’s underwhelming start to the campaign continued as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against Mallorca at home. Vedat Muriqi scored the winner for the visitors with five minutes left to play.

Player of the week

Despite only one goal to his name, a player that caught the eye this week was Barcelona’s Joao Felix.

The former Atletico Madrid and Chelsea man made his full debut for his new team this week and was a big reason why Xavi’s side looked so good.

Dropping between the lines and tucking into the left half-space to allow Balde to overlap, Felix was always available to receive and progress the ball.

He showed both great tenacity and skill for his goal, and the dummy in the build-up to Lewandowski’s goal was a thing of beauty. The future looks bright for both Felix and Barcelona, judging by what we saw this week.

Looking ahead

The standout fixture in Gameweek 6 of the 2023/24 La Liga campaign is the Madrid derby, with Atleti hosting their neighbours on Monday night.

This will be the biggest test Madrid have faced this season, and it remains to be seen if they can come out of it with their 100% record still intact.

The 18th and 19th-placed teams go head-to-head, with Las Palmas hosting Granada in an early-season relegation six-pointer.

Barcelona have another home fixture against Celta, Real Sociedad host Getafe, while Villarreal have a tricky assignment as they travel to Vallecano.

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