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La Liga Weekly: Barcelona find new hero, Real Madrid held at Sevilla, Griezmann hat-trick inspires Atletico

The La Liga title race got a whole lot closer this weekend, with three teams separated by just one point at the summit.

Here’s a deep dive into the events of Matchday 10.

Marc Guiu scripts fairytale Barcelona debut

Barcelona climbed to within a point of Real Madrid and Girona at the top of the table, with a late 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at home.

Xavi had problems aplenty, with Frenkie De Jong, Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha all out injured. But, it was one of his substitutes who turned out to be the unlikely hero.

The game was pretty evenly matched in the first half, with both sides producing chances. Joao Felix hit the top of the crossbar in the first 10 minutes before Unai Simon had to be at his best to deny Fermin Lopez from close range.

At the other end, Marc-Andre ter Stegen produced two crucial saves from Inaki and Nico Williams.

Simon was at it again early in the second half, producing a stunning double-save to deny Felix and Lopez.

Xavi then rang the changes, taking off Oriol Romeu for winger Lamine Yamal. The 16-year-old had a chance soon after coming on, but he pulled his shot wide with just the goalkeeper to beat.

With the game seemingly headed towards a goalless draw, Barcelona played their final card in the form of La Masia graduate Marc Guiu.

What happened next was the stuff of dreams. Guiu was played through by Felix, and with almost his first touch since coming on, the striker finished past Simon.

It was a great day overall for Barcelona, who beat a tough opponent despite all their injury concerns. In Guiu, they may have also uncovered their next centre forward.

Sevilla frustrate table-toppers Real Madrid

Real Madrid had an afternoon to forget in the beautiful city of Seville, as they were held to a 1-1 draw at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

It could have been a different story, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men had two goals ruled out in the first 10 minutes.

Federico Valverde’s cute finish from a tight angle was chalked out for Jude Bellingham being offside in the build-up.

Bellingham had a goal cancelled out five minutes later after the referee blew for a foul on Lucas Ocampos at the other end.

Sevilla had some chances, as Ivan Rakitic’s shot beat Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Madrid goal but was cleared off the line by Dani Carvajal.

Djibril Sow broke into the box a few minutes later but could not keep his effort on target.

Sevilla goalkeeper Orjan Nyland then produced two important saves either side of half-time to deny Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo.

The breakthrough came for the home side in the 74th minute when a cross from the left flank was bundled over into his own goal by David Alaba.

Madrid weren’t behind for long as Carvajal headed in Toni Kroos’ free-kick just four minutes later.

The best chance at a winner fell to former Madrid man Sergio Ramos. His effort to script a blockbuster was thwarted by Kepa, who got across swiftly to palm away his compatriot’s header.

Atletico make it five wins in a row

Atletico Madrid continued their stellar form, dispatching relegation strugglers Celta Vigo 3-0 away from home.

Antoine Griezmann scored a fantastic hat-trick to take his tally for the season to seven goals.

Celta had two decent openings at the beginning of the game, but Jorgen Strand Larsen and Oscar Mingueza converted their opportunities.

The game took a complete turn in the 25th minute when Rafael Benitez’s side were reduced to ten men.

Goalkeeper Ivan Vilar was sent off for a foul on Alvaro Morata, and a penalty was given. The result was never in doubt, as Griezmann finished with surety and calmness.

Ten-man Celta produced a spirited response, with Iago Aspas going close with a shot from the edge of the box. Early in the second half, Jonathan Bamba hit the crossbar with a stunning effort from range.

Atleti were given breathing room in the 64th minute when Griezmann finished with his right foot to make it 2-0.

Six minutes later, he was set up for his hat-trick following a great run from Alvaro Morata and a subsequent pass from Nahuel Molina.

Diego Simeone’s men are the in-form team in La Liga and are just three points behind Real Madrid and Girona, having played a game less.

Girona complete stunning turnaround to stay second

Girona have surprised everyone with their unbelievable start to the La Liga season. They are proving they are here to stay and won’t go away.

Their home fixture against bottom side Almeria seemed elementary on paper, but they needed to come from two goals down to ultimately win 5-2.

Leo Baptistao’s brace gave the away side a 2-0 lead with just 24 minutes on the clock.

However, goals from Artem Dovbyk (2), Ivan Martin, Savio and Cristhian Stuani sealed the three points for Michel’s side.

Girona are now second in the table to Real Madrid only on goal difference and have the most potent attack in the league with 24 goals scored in their ten games.

Around the grounds

The gameweek began with Osasuna dispatching 19th-placed Granada 2-0 at home, with a brace from Ante Budimir.

Granada, who held Barcelona last weekend, looked second-best throughout this one and were also reduced to ten men late on with the dismissal of Lucas Boye.

Real Sociedad stayed within touching distance of the top four with a 1-0 home win over Real Mallorca thanks to a second-half strike from Brais Mendez.

Rayo Vallecano beat Las Palmas in dramatic fashion, courtesy of an injury-time penalty from Bebe.

Valencia got their first win in five games, as they beat Cadiz 2-0 at home, with goals from Jose Gaya and Hugo Duro.

Getafe vs Real Betis and Villarreal vs Deportivo Alaves ended in 1-1 draws.

Player of the week

This week’s best player is Griezmann, who scored a hat-trick in his side’s 3-0 win over Celta.

With the kind of form the Frenchman is in this season, Atleti will be hoping for a memorable campaign in Spain and Europe.

Looking ahead

The biggest game next weekend is probably the biggest game in club football, El Clasico.

With Madrid and Barcelona going through stylistic changes this season, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top at the Olimpic Stadium.

Even at this early point in the season, this will be a huge morale-booster for the side that takes home the three points.

Girona will bid to keep their momentum going at home to Celta, while Atletico will look to make it six wins in a row when they host Alaves.

There are several significant clashes at the other end of the table this weekend. Granada host Villarreal, Sevilla travel to Cadiz, while bottom-side Almeria welcome Las Palmas.

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