In the same week where the cream of Barcelona’s and Real Madrid’s crop have been nominated for the Ballon d’Or, the “big two” both won over the weekend in style; leaving the league table delicately poised for El Clasico on Saturday; check out some of the odds for that massive encounter at Betfair.com.
Barcelona made quick work of 4th placed Levante, beating this season’s over-achievers 5-0 at the Nou Camp while Real Madrid won 3-0 away from home at relegation candidates Sporting Gijon.
Angel Di Maria opened the scoring for Real Madrid in Gijon from the tightest of angles, when his run down the left brought him into the box to squeeze the ball home from the touchline.
Di Maria turned creator for Madrid’s second goal in the 63rd minute when his excellent pass cut the Gijon defence in two to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to round the ‘keeper and score his 17th league goal of the season, before Brazilian full-back Marcelo capped the scoring in the 90th minute with a powerful left footed strike.
Barcelona extended their record of clean sheets in the league at home to 12 with their 5-0 victory over Levante as former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas netted twice in the first half before Isaac Cuenca’s third goal killed the game off for the away side.
Fabregas opened the scoring with just 4 minutes played when his effort from just outside the box crept past the Levante goalkeeper to put Barca 1-0 up before adding his second in the 33rd minute when he headed in Xavi’s free kick.
Cuenca received a pass from Iniesta before placing the ball in the bottom corner from just inside the box for Barca’s third.
Leo Messi got on the score sheet in the 55th minute when he side-footed the ball past the ‘keeper but the Argentinian striker could have had a hat-trick if it wasn’t for his wasteful shooting and it was summer signing Alexis Sanchez who scored the final goal of the game when his deflected chip looped over the ‘keeper for Barcelona’s fifth.
Chelsea’s midweek opponents Valencia gained another three points with a home win over Espanyol, with Torres’ rival for a place in the Spain squad, Roberto Soldado, netting his 14th goal this season to win the game for his side.
The home side opened the scoring with a fifth minute penalty scored by Tino Costa and it seemed Valencia’s focus was mainly on their decisive fixture with Chelsea on Tuesday when they conceded with just over 20 minutes to go.
Defender Hector Moreno was the goalscorer when he prodded home Thievy Bifouma’s cross from the right and it looked like Espanyol could even grab a victory at the Mestalla.
It was not to be however, as Soldado came off the bench to score with his first touch after getting on the end of Tino Costa’s flick on to win the game for Valencia.
Villarreal continued their poor season with a disappointing defeat at third from bottom Racing Santander, where a first half goal from Uruguayan Christian Stuani was enough to separate the sides.
Atletico Madrid bounced straight back from their derby defeat at the hands of Real with a 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano with Gabi, Falcao and Eduardo Salvio all netting for Madrid, while Gabi’s own goal was a late consellation for the away side.
Real Sociedad overcame new-money Malaga at home in a 3-2 thriller in San Sebastian with the home side scoring two late goals to snatch victory from Malaga in the dying minutes.
A Martin Demichelis own goal opened the scoring for Sociedad before two second half goals from Malaga’s Salomon Rondon and Sebastian Fernandez put the visitors in front.
Arsenal’s on-loan Mexican striker Carlos Vela equalised for Sociedad in the 88th minute with a stunning bicycle kick before Diego Ifran won the three points for the home team in the last minute of normal time.
Elsewhere, Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao played out a 1-1 draw; Osasuna beat Real Betis 2-1 at home courtesy of a last minute winner from Javad Nekounam while a goal from Odion Ighalo was enough for Granada to see off bottom-place Real Zaragoza; Sevilla and Getafe finish off the weekend’s fixtures on Monday night.