Solari has done enough to secure a permanent place on the bench

All eyes were focused on events at La Bombonera and Balaídos, but the fall-out at Camp Nou became the talking point on Sunday evening as Real Betis claimed maximum points with a 3-4 win in a match that marked the return of Leo Messi to the Barcelona ranks. The Argentine player was far from culpable for the loss with every credit going to the visitors and in particular coach Quique Setién for overseeing a fine performance with his side delivering a solid display based on moving the ball around with pace and intent. Ter Stegen was at fault for the first Betis goal but the Andalusian side created plenty of chances throughout the 90 minutes. Barcelona slip-up for the second time this season and the summit of the LaLiga table makes for very interesting reading indeed.



Real Madrid took full advantage of Barça's loss with a deserved win away in Balaidos in a game that was not short on events. It was an entertaining match and Celta did their bit too, coming close when the game was poised at 1-2. Benzema delivered as fine a display as we've seen from the Frenchman for some time bagging two goals on the night. Madrid rode their luck as  Hugo Mallo made a contest bringing Celta back into the game at 1-2 and amidst a plague of injuries for the visitors. With ten minutes left on the clock Juncá committed an unnecessary foul on Odriozola which was duly dispatched from the spot, Panenka style from Sergio Ramos which in essence killed off any resistance the home side were offering.

Santiago Solari


There was still time for both sides to bag a late goal apiece but it was the team from the capital who claimed maximum points. Solari's men are now just four points behind leaders FC Barcelona and it's felt that the Argentine coach has done enough to earn a permanent position on the Bernabeu bench. Solari has steered his side to four consecutive wins with the win in Vigo being the most difficult that the fixture list has thrown at the coach with his men bagging 15 goals and conceding just two in that time. His team look solid and the 42-year-old is not afraid to make brave decisions as we've seen when he elects Lucas Vázquez ahead of Asensio. Gareth Bale still disappoints but in contrast, recent weeks have seen a renaissance from Karim Benzema with the Frenchman delivering displays that rank among his best at the club.