Sports Mole's La Liga Team of the Week

Real Madrid's Welsh striker Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match against Real Valladolid CF on November 30, 2013
© Getty Images
Sports Mole selects its 11 top performers following another pulsating weekend of La Liga football.

Athletic Bilbao blew the La Liga title race wide open this weekend with a 1-0 win over champions Barcelona at San Mames.

The Catalan outfit's league defeat – their first of the season – means that Atletico Madrid now sit joint-top of the table on 40 points, while Real Madrid are third on 37.

There were also wins for Getafe, Celta Vigo, Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Valencia on another enthralling weekend of football in Spain's first division.

Week 15's action opened on Friday evening as Getafe overcame Levante by the single goal on their own patch, before Malaga scored late to secure a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw with high-flying Villarreal.

Atletico continued their impressive start to the season with a 2-0 win at Elche in Saturday's opening fixture, before Celta Vigo came from behind to beat Almeria 3-1.

Gareth Bale then netted a perfect treble as Real Madrid put four answered goals past Real Valladolid in the Spanish capital, before Real Sociedad continued their strong run of form with a 2-1 win against Espanyol in Barcelona.

Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano shared the points in the opening match on Sunday, but Betis' scity rivals Sevilla made it three successive league wins with a 2-1 win at Granada.

Jonas also netted three times as Valencia beat Osasuna 3-0 in the penultimate match on Sunday, before Bilbao shocked Spain with a one-goal victory over Barcelona to cap another exhilarating round of fixtures in La Liga.

Here, Sports Mole selects the 11 players who made their mark in La Liga at the weekend.

Willy Caballero (Malaga)
Had Caballero not been in fine form against Villarreal on Friday, his side would not have been unable to secure a late point. The Argentine made a number of sensational saves in the second period, while his presence in the opposition's box allowed Malaga to equalise in the 1-1 draw. It is no surprise that Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini wants to bring the veteran to the Premier League.

Miranda (Atletico Madrid)
I am not certain if there is a better defender in La Liga than Miranda, aside from his teammate Diego Godin. The Brazilian was once more in top form on Saturday as Atletico kept a clean sheet in their 2-0 win at Elche. Not only was the centre-back dominant in the air, he was also prepared to put his foot on the ball. His distribution has improved considerably in the last year or so.
Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao)
Granted, Barcelona were not at their best in Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Bilbao, but the home side must be praised for their performance. Laporte, who is still just 19, was a key part of the victory. The Frenchman had Cesc Fabregas and Neymar to mark for long periods and neither got a sniff at San Mames. It was a mature, composed performance from the teenage centre-back.
Federico Fazio (Sevilla)
It is no surprise that Sevilla's defence has improved on Fazio's return to the team. The towering defender was once more on top form at the weekend as his side recorded a 2-1 win over Granada. The visitors came under pressure in the latter stages, but the 26-year-old remained unmoved. Sevilla are surely now in contention for the top four.

Cani (Villarreal)
Cani registered another assist on Friday as he set up Bruno for Villarreal's opener in their 1-1 draw with Malaga. It could be argued that the 32-year-old has been the standout midfielder in the league this season, which is some praise with the company that he holds. Everything good about Villarreal has come through the playmaker this season.
Koke (Atletico Madrid)
Another week, another wonderful performance from Koke. Now a full member of the Spain squad, the Atletico midfielder is expected to play a key role at the World Cup next summer. The likes of Diego Costa have stolen the headlines this season, but the Spaniard has been a key component in Atletico's stunning start to the campaign. He is just such a classy talent.
Oriol Romeu (Valencia)
Valencia supporters will be wondering where Romeu has been. The former Barcelona midfielder joined on loan from Chelsea in the summer and has now started to find his feet after a slow start. He had all sorts of space in his side's 3-0 win over Osasuna on Sunday, but he used the ball intelligently. The 22-year-old could be on the verge of a big season.
Markel Susaeta (Athletic Bilbao)
The Bilbao winger gave Barcelona full-backs Adriano and Martin Montoya nightmares as he continued to switch wings during his side's 1-0 win at San Mames. It was also the Spaniard's cross that provided Iker Muniain with the only goal of the match. More performances of this ilk could force the 25-year-old into the Spain squad for the World Cup.

Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
Cristiano who?! Bale was criticised for a slow start to life in Spain, but the Welshman has been in stunning form in recent weeks. He netted his first Madrid treble in their 4-0 win over Valladolid on Saturday and one suspects it will not be his last. It was also the perfect hat-trick – header, right foot and left foot – which is an indication of his talent.
Jonas (Valencia)
Valencia needed a big performance from Jonas in their clash with Osasuna on Sunday, and they got one. The Brazilian scored all three goals in the 3-0 win at the Mestalla. It has been a disappointing season for the former Champions League outfit thus far, but they have the players to turn it around. Could a Brazil call-up be on the horizon for the forward?
Angel di Maria (Real Madrid)
Di Maria did not score in Real Madrid's 4-0 win over Valladolid at the weekend, but he did pretty much everything else. The Argentine rattled the crossbar in the early stages, before embarking on a series of dangerous runs into the opposition's box.

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his third goal during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on November 9, 2013
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