Atletico remain on top as Real and Barca stumble again

Atletico continue to set the pace

After three games Atletico are the only side in La Liga with an unblemished record but they left it late against a dogged Eibar. Eibar threw the form book out of the window early on as they raced into a two goal lead inside 20 minutes. First, Fabian Orellana stood up a cross that Charles Dias headed in on 7 and on 19 a miscued clearance ran to Anaitz Arbilla who beat Jan Oblak with the help of a deflection.

The second goal seemed to spark the hosts into life and eight minutes after conceding Joao Felix turned in after a strong run from Diego Costa. Atletico couldn’t find a leveller before the break but on 52 sub Vitolo Machin smartly found the bottom corner with the outside of his boot to make it 2-2.

It looked like Eibar had done enough to earn a terrific away point but Atletico never panicked and in stoppage time Thomas Partey passed forward, continued his run into the box and when the ball eventually landed at his feet  showed great composure to win the game.

Final score: Atletico Madrid 3-2 Eibar

Bale scores, sees red and Real drop points again

Real Madrid travelled to Villarreal aiming to add three points to their tally after a hit and miss start to the season but Gerard Moreno capitalised on a Thibaut Courtois error in just the 12th minute to put the hosts 1-0 up. Real went looking for an equaliser and Karim Benzema saw a rasping effort cannon off the upright but on the stroke of half time Gareth Bale popped up in the Villarreal six yard box to finish off an intricate passing move.

Madrid went hunting for a winner in the second half but with just 15 minutes remaining Villarreal took the lead again. Moreno was denied by Courtois but Javier Ontiveros kept the attack alive and Moi Gomez tapped home. Zinedine Zidane’s men were not done though and in the 86th minute Bale beat Andres Fernandez at his near post to make it 2-2.

Not only was the tie more dropped points for Madrid but in injury time Bale managed to pick up two yellow cards to receive his marching orders.

Final score: Villarreal 2-2 Real Madrid

A record scorer but further off the pace

Barcelona looked to be back on track thanks to last weeks 5-2 win over Betis but a 2-2 draw away at Osasuna means the champions have taken just four points from a possible nine. The hosts got off to a terrific start; on 7 Brandon left Clement Lenglet on his backside before delivering a pacey cross where an unmarked Roberto Torres volleyed home.

After the interval Barca turned the game on it’s head. Carles Perez provided the assist for 16 year old Anssumane Fati to head home – a goal that makes him the youngest scorer in the clubs history – and on 64 Arthur Melo made it 2-1, cutting onto his right foot and curling a precise finish beyond Ruben Martinez.

After taking the lead Barcelona looked comfortable but with a little under 10 minutes remaining Gerard Pique was penalised for handball and Torres stepped up to convert from the spot.

Final score: Osasuna 2-2 Barcelona

32% possession and a three goal win

Granada proved there is only one statistic that counts in football with their 3-0 win away at Espanyol on Sunday. Granada took a 13th minute lead when Antonio Puertas pounced to tap in after Diego Lopez had saved a 20 yard effort from Darwin Machis. Rui Silva kept Espanyol at bay and on 68 Granada doubled their advantage, Carlos Fernandez the man to score. Just six minutes later the visitors added a third; Machis crossed to the far post and Ramon Azeez stretched out a leg to divert the ball back across Lopez and into the net.

Final score: Espanyol 0-3 Granada

Levante leave it late

Real Valladolid took the trip to Valencia to take on Levante and looked on course to take a point until two goals in the last 10 minutes gave the hosts the three points.

Sergio Guardiola raced clear of the Levante backline and coolly slotted past Aitor Fernandez but celebrations were cut short as Guardiola had marginally strayed offside when Nacho played him through. Valladolid continued in the ascendancy but couldn’t find a way to break the deadlock and in the 83rd minute found themselves behind. Sergio Leon profited from a deflected cross and poked home from close range and with time almost up Levante doubled their lead when Jose Luis Morales scored with his second bite of the cherry.

Final score: Levante 2-0 Real Valladolid

Betis come from behind to win

Real Betis and Leganes both came into this match looking for their first win of the season and after surviving a couple of scares Leganes took a 50th minute lead as Martin Braithwaite reacted quickest after Joel Robles parried Oscar’s effort.

The away side only held the one goal advantage for four minutes though; Loren Moron turned into the roof of the net from five yards and on 62 Nabil Fekir finished off a slick move. Betis, who hit the woodwork three times, were good value for the win and Leganes remain on zero points.

Final score: Real Betis 2-1 Leganes

Bilbao remain unbeaten

Athletic Bilbao maintained their unbeaten start to the La Liga season with two first half goals enough to see off a Real Sociedad side lacking a cutting edge. Bilbao took an 11th minute lead through Inaki Williams converting a cut back from Ander Capa.

After appeals for a Sociedad penalty fell on deaf ears – a free kick that came to nothing being awarded instead – Raul Garcia curled home a beautiful second for the home side. Goal action was limited after that although Sociedad thought they’d pulled a goal back only for it to be chalked off by VAR and, in the end, it was a straight forward win for Bilbao.

Final score: Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Real Sociedad

Sevilla surrender perfect start

A goal a piece inside the last 10 minutes saw Sevilla and Celta Vigo share the spoils on Friday night. Julen Lopetegui’s team had started the season well with six points from six and it looked set to get better when Franco Vazquez headed home from Ever Banega’s free kick. It was no less than a dominant Sevilla deserved but with just three minutes later they were pinned back; Denis Suarez finishing off a slick passing move for Celta.

Final score: Sevilla 1-1 Celta Vigo

Dani on the spot for Valencia

Valencia bagged their first win of the season with two penalty kicks enough to see off Mallorca. It was Mallorca who started the strongest with the bar and post coming to the home sides rescue. As half time neared, Mallorca were made to pay the penalty for missed chances though as Dani Parejo scored from the spot after Francis Coquelin was brought down by Antonio Raillo.

After the break, Valencia limited Mallorca to very little in way of clear cut opportunities and on 57 Parejo netted another penalty to clinch the game, this time following a handball.

Final score: Valencia 2-0 Mallorca

Getafe and Alaves take a point each

Getafe’s wait for a win continues after they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Alaves. The home side started strongly and on 24 they took the lead with Marc Cucurella sliding Jorge Molina in on goal and he made no mistake with the finish; one touch to control and another to bury with the outside of his foot. Just seven minutes later Alaves were back on terms when Joselu eventually scored after a manic scramble. The remainder of the game played out with little entertainment.

Final score: Getafe 1-1 Alaves

There you have it, after game week three only Atletico have a 100% record and the two giants are stumbling. Their fortunes will turn, without doubt, but when?

Finally, whilst we’re all about soccer, it’s important to spare a thought for the Enrique family after the tragic passing of ex-Barcelona manager Luis Enrique’s daughter. It puts the game into perspective and our thoughts are with you.

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