Five things we learned from LaLiga this weekend

LaLiga

Five things we learned from LaLiga this weekend

Five things we learned from LaLiga this weekend

JAVIER GANDUL

DIARIO AS

Real Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona remain separated by just two points at the top after all three won in differing circumstances as La Liga reached its midway point this weekend. Here, AFP Sports looks at five things we learned from week 19:

Barcelona – Real Sociedad live

Madrid back winning, but not smiling

Madrid returned to winning ways after back-to-back defeats by squeezing past Malaga 2-1 thanks to Sergio Ramos's double.

However, it was far from a happy Saturday for Los Blancos as Cristiano Ronaldo was jeered for his slow start to 2017, whilst Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane admitted two more key injuries had him down in the dumps.

Luka Modric became the latest Madrid injury problem against Malaga

Marcelo and Luka Modric both limped off and look set to miss a packed next few weeks with Madrid in Copa del Rey, La Liga and Champions League action.

Sevilla's best ever 1st half to a season 

A week after giving Madrid a taste of their own medicine by scoring twice in the final five minutes to end their 40-game unbeaten run, Sevilla produced another stirring fightback, albeit against rather more modest opposition, to edge a seven-goal thriller 4-3 at rock bottom Osasuna and remain just a point behind the leaders.

Sevilla's determination to fight until the end has been the key to registering their best ever first half to a league season with 42 points from 19 games.

Jorge Sampaoli's men have won five of the seven games in which they conceded first and scored 14 goals in the last 10 minutes of matches which have earned 15 more points.

Alteti's Griezmann dependency a concern

Atletico Madrid's struggles through the early winter mirrored a dry spell for Antoine Griezmann in front of goal.

The Frenchman didn't find the net between October 2 and January 7 in La Liga, but now has five in six appearances in 2017 and salvaged Atletico a point with a sensational strike 10 minutes from time in a 2-2 draw at Athletic Bilbao.

Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann celebrates his team's first goal.

A series of reports this week linked Manchester United with a move for the top scorer at Euro 2016. Whoever wants him, though, will almost certainly have to match Griezmann's 100 million euro ($107 million) buyout clause with Atletico more dependant than ever on their hitman.

Top-half clashes don't disappoint 

Four games across the Basque and Navarra region at four different kick-off times on Sunday saw seven of the top nine in action, plus bottom of the table Osasuna. And they didn't disappoint with a host of star names among 16 goals.

Sevilla edged the seven-goal thriller at Osasuna, whilst all three of Barca's fearsome Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar strike partnership lead a 4-0 rout of Eibar.

Griezmann's stunner ensured a share of points in Bilbao, but Real Sociedad are now level with Atletico in fourth as Juanmi headed home the winner in San Sebastian for a 1-0 win over Celta Vigo.

A sign of better things for Valencia?

What many have found an impossible job at Mestalla, Valencia's continual saviour Voro seems to find easy as Los Che's charge away from the relegation zone under their caretaker boss continued with an excellent 2-0 win at Villarreal.

In six Liga games in two spells under Voro this season Valencia have 13 points compared to just six from the 12 matches overseen by Pako Ayestaran and Cesare Prandelli.

Moreover, their clean sheet at the Ceramic Stadium was a first this season and a first away from home in La Liga since September 2015.

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