Fri, 22 Jan 2021

Four things we learned from Spain's Matchday 11

Xinhua
30 Nov 2020, 22:18 GMT+10

MADRID, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The 11th round of matches in La Liga once again produced its share of surprises as Alaves took three points off Real Madrid, while elsewhere Barcelona cruised to victory and Atletico Madrid continued their winning run. Here are some things we learned this weekend in Spain.

1. What is the matter with Real Madrid?

Real Madrid's 2-1 defeat at home to Alaves was the shock of the weekend, not least because it followed a convincing 2-0 win away to Inter Milan, but the team from Victoria were worthy winners in Valdebebas and could have scored more.

While it's true Real Madrid were missing several key players such as Sergio Ramos, the fact others such like Rodrygo, Ferland Mendy, Isco, Vinicius Jr and Martin Odegaard all started on the bench highlights the depth of the squad Zinedine Zidane has to choose from.

Perhaps Luka Modric showed that he can't play two big games in a week any more, but even Zidane admitted after the game that he didn't know what is the matter with a team able to win in Barcelona and Milan, but which has lost at home to Cadiz, Alaves and Shakhtar Donetsk.

2. Griezmann looks happier now

A week ago, Antoine Griezmann gave a TV interview in which he discussed his situation at Barcelona, his relationship with Leo Messi and his irregular form since joining from Atletico Madrid.

The Frenchman has produced two of his best performances for Barca since giving the interview and was exceptional in Barca's 4-0 win at home to Osasuna with a hand in two goals and a spectacular goal of his own. Without the injured Ansu Fati in the side, he found space to run. It seems as if Ronald Koeman's more direct style of football does suit him more than the passing game that sometimes seems to 'clip his wings.' There is still a long way to go, but the past week has given signs that Griezmann can continue to improve.

3. Atletico march on - but they need Suarez back

There can be little argument that Atletico Madrid deserved their 1-0 win away to a spirited Valencia on Saturday afternoon, but there was a dose of fortune in the way the goal arrived with a low cross surprising Valencia defender Toni Lato, who put the ball into his own net.

Atletico took a positive attitude into the game and created chances with Joao Felix, Yannick Carrasco and Angel Correa, but without the injured Diego Costa and (especially) Luis Suarez they lacked a finish.

Suarez is still sidelined with coronavirus but should be back soon and no doubt the Uruguayan will be rubbing his hands in anticipation at the chances that are likely to come his way.

4. Iago is Celta's captain, leader and possible savior.

New Celta coach Eduardo Coudet saw his side come back from behind to claim their first win with him in charge and the Argentinean will know that he owes the win to club captain Iago Aspas.

Aspas didn't score, but helped set up all three of Celta's goals and as they beat Granada 3-1.

The striker has shown time and again his commitment to his home town club and his ability to create space for companions is almost as important as his own goals.

Coudet field a very attacking side on Sunday with Aspas partnered by Santi Mina, Brais Mendez, Denis Suarez and Nolito and just one holding midfielder. It may leave them vulnerable in defense, but with Aspas on form, Coudet will think his side will be able to score plenty of goals to compensate.

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