Valencia are back, and so too are Real Betis. On Saturday evening, we saw a fine game at the Wanda Metropolitano, a stadium that's seeking to bring to Spanish football the American idea of extending the party both before and after the match - which is a topic that I must return to another day. Yet Atlético Madrid-Barcelona paled in comparison to yesterday's clash at the Benito Villamarín (doesn't Betis' ground look absolutely smashing now it's been renovated, by the way!). Nine goals and unpredictability at every turn. Los Verdiblancos took initial charge, before bit by bit Valencia pulled away into a 4-0 lead, prompting the home fans to take their leave; then, Betis reversed the exodus by fighting back to 4-3, only for Los Che to strike two late killer blows. Full time: 6-3 to the visitors.
Last night's game at the Villamarín was a great advert for LaLiga
I'm pretty sure neither Quique Setién nor Marcelino García Toral will be wholly enamoured of that scoreline. Chiefly Setién, clearly; but make no mistake: 6-3 will seem a little too helter-skelter to both. The aim of a coach, and we're talking about two really good ones here, is for the action to unfold amid a degree of control. In their eyes, any more than three goals in a game starts to be a bit too much. Nine? Don't even go there. But for LaLiga, this match - which had the honour of the kick-off time most exportable to America, is a wonderful advert for the competition. Attacking stuff, twists, turns, thrills and spills, a general spirit of fair play and a full stadium bathed in a sea of green that looked great. LaLiga isn't just El Clásico. This is no longer a league reminiscent of Scotland's.
It's great news to see Real Betis and Valencia riding high again
That Real Betis and Valencia are on the way back up is terrific news. They're two clubs with massive fanbases who - both being former Spanish title winners, of course - are steeped in history and tradition. After periods in the doldrums, they now look revitalised. Betis won't be at all happy today, because they brought too much to the party to warrant such a heavy defeat. Valencia, meanwhile, will be enjoying the view from second in the table. Both can be proud of the show they put on and the image they sent out to the world. Things like these do their bit for 'Brand Spain' too. A more even distribution of the league's TV revenue has raised the overall level, and will be to everyone's benefit. Because the more games we get like last night's, the more marketable a product LaLiga is.