Sat, 27 Feb 2021

Four things we learned in Spain's Matchday 24

Xinhua
22 Feb 2021, 22:18 GMT+10

MADRID, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- The 24th round of games in La Liga saw Real Madrid close the gap at the top of the table, while in the relegation zone Elche and Huesca show signs of life. These are some things we learned this weekend in Spain.

1. Worrying times for Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid has dropped five points in two games against Levante, drawing 1-1 in Valencia last Wednesday and losing 2-0 at home to them on Saturday. Those results and a 2-2 draw at home to Celta have wiped eight points off Atletico's cushion at the top of the table in a fortnight and they are now just three points clear of Real Madrid.

One of Atletico's main problems in recent games has been that their defense seems to have lost its reliability and that side that was so hard to score against earlier in the season now looks vulnerable.

Real Madrid's visit to the Wanda Metropolitano at the start of March now looks like it could be a title decider.

2. Barca waste a chance to end bad week

FC Barcelona must have thought they had the chance to bounce back after Tuesday's 4-1 thrashing at home to Paris Saint Germain with the visit of a Cadiz side that had conceded 15 goals in 4 games to the Camp Nou, but in the end, a 1-1 draw merely confirmed Barca's current crisis.

Coach Ronald Koeman repeated the side that had lost to PSG, but if he expected a reaction, he was to be disappointed with only a Leo Messi penalty to show for their efforts in attack.

That left Barca vulnerable to an error at the back and in the last minute Clement Lenglet added to the long list of defensive mistakes when he gifted Cadiz a penalty and a point.

A win would have taken Barca to within six points of Atletico, but at eight points behind and with the football they are playing, their title hopes look very distant indeed.

3. Isak the star at La Real

Swedish striker Alexander Isak has benefitted from the departure of Willian Jose to Wolves as the Real Sociedad forward made clear with his side's first three goals in their 4-0 hammering of Alaves on Sunday.

Isak, who is just 21 years old, showed his range of finishing techniques which, combined with his pace and mobility, make him one of the most dangerous forwards in La Liga with 12 goals so far this season

Sunday's goals mean he has netted in his side's last six league matches and he is a key factor in their return to the top five.

4. Huesca and Elche make it interesting at the bottom

Fran Escriba was able to celebrate his return as Elche coach with a 1-0 win at home to Eibar, while Huesca boss 'Pacheta', who led Elche to promotion last season, continues to breathe life into Huesca as his side beat Granada 3-2 to claim their second win in five games.

The wins for Elche and Huesca and the defeats for Eibar and Alaves mean that just three points separate the bottom five, while just above them Getafe and Cadiz, despite their point away to Barca, are also looking nervously over their shoulders after poor results in recent weeks.

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