Sports Mole's La Liga Team of the Week

Barcelona's Neymar celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Malaysia XI during a friendly match on August 10, 2013
© Getty Images
Sports Mole selects its 11 star performers in La Liga following another pulsating round of fixtures.

Atletico Madrid kept pace with La Liga leaders Barcelona at the weekend with a comfortable win over Celta Vigo, but Real Madrid needed two goals in injury time to stay in touching distance of the top two ahead of the international break.

There were also wins for Villarreal, Osasuna, Rayo Vallecano, Elche, Sevilla and Getafe as the La Liga table starts to take shape with eight matches of the season now complete.

Week eight's action began on Friday evening as Villarreal continued their impressive start to the season with a 3-0 win over Granada, before Osasuna claimed three unlikely points with a 1-0 victory at Malaga.

Elche were also surprise winners in the opening match on Saturday afternoon as they recorded a 2-1 win over Espanyol, before Real Sociedad's struggles continued as they lost 1-0 in Madrid to Rayo Vallecano, who remain in the bottom three despite the victory.

Cristiano Ronaldo was once more Real Madrid's saviour as his late strike secured a 3-2 win for the capital outfit away at Levante, but it was straightforward for Barcelona in the late start on Saturday evening as they recorded a 4-1 victory over Real Valladolid.

Atletico kept pace with Barcelona on 24 points after they opened Sunday's action with a 2-1 win over a resilient Celta Vigo outfit, before Sevilla moved onto nine points with a 2-1 triumph over Almeria, who remain the only team in the division without a league victory this season.

Real Betis's struggles continued as they lost 3-1 at Getafe in the penultimate match of the weekend, before Athletic Bilbao and Valencia played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at the new San Mames.

Here, Sports Mole selects its 11 star performers in La Liga following another pulsating round of fixtures.

Yoel (Celta Vigo)
The 25-year-old is becoming a regular in this particular team. But how can he be left out at the moment? The Spaniard was once more in sensational form in his side's 2-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid on Sunday. But for his heroics, Celta would have been out of the match far sooner. As England's goalkeeping problems drag on, Spain continue to produce keepers of real quality.

Marc Bertran (Osasuna)
It hasn't quite been the start that Osasuna would have wanted this season, but they picked up three points in a 1-0 win over Malaga on Friday evening. Bertran, 31, was a main part of that victory with his towering performance in defence. Malaga turned the screw in the latter stages, but the Spaniard was a calming influence in the away side's back four.
Roberto Lago (Getafe)
It was another three points for Getafe on Sunday as they continued their fine run with a 3-1 win over Real Betis. Lago has been a key reason for their upturn in form and he continued his solid start to the season with an impressive display at the weekend. When his side came under pressure in the second period, it was the 28-year-old who settled those around him.
Jeremy Mathieu (Valencia)
The Frenchman has been asked to perform in the heart of the Valencia defence in recent weeks due to ongoing off-the-field problems with Adil Rami, but he has certainly not disappointed. The 29-year-old was once more at his best in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao. He isn't the most technical player in the league, but he is certainly among the most competitive.

Cani (Villarreal)
The 32-year-old has been a class act for Villarreal in the early part of the season with his four assists thus far demonstrating his contribution to the team. He was up to his old tricks on Friday evening as he assisted two of his side's three goals in their 3-0 win over Granada. Aside from the obvious, he has been one of the standout players in the division thus far.
Pape Diop (Levante)
The 27-year-old has enjoyed a fine start to the season with his performances, gaining admiring glances from across Spain. He might have been on the losing side in Saturday's 3-2 defeat to Real Madrid, but that took nothing away from his display in the middle of the park. He was up against bigger names, but he stole the show with a box-to-box performance.
Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla)
When Sevilla are in need of some inspiration, it almost always comes from their skipper. That was indeed the case this weekend as Rakitic popped up in the final minute to secure all three points for his side against Almeria on Sunday. However, even before his strike, the 25-year-old was the standout player on the pitch as he ran the home side's midfield.
Pedro Leon (Getafe)
Leon lasted just 35 minutes in Getafe's 3-1 win over Real Betis on Sunday, which means, to make this team, he must have made quite a contribution in the first half. That was indeed the case as the former Real Madrid midfielder scored twice in the space of six minutes – the first of which was a stunning free kick into the top corner.

Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona)
The Chilean is yet to really set the world alight at Barcelona, but he has started this season in fine form. His side needed him to be at his best as they fell behind to Real Valladolid at the weekend, but the winger's stunning effort moved the Spanish champions level. He completed his brace in the second period, before assisting Neymar in a fine all-round display.
Neymar (Barcelona)
The former Santos striker has been in sensational form for Barcelona in recent weeks and he continued that standard in their 4-1 victory over Valladolid on Saturday evening. The Brazilian assisted Sanchez for the Chilean's second goal, before putting his name on the scoresheet with a clever strike 20 minutes from time. He is such a class act.
Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)
It is difficult to think of many more superlatives for Costa, who moved onto 10 La Liga goals for the season with a brace in Atletico Madrid's 2-1 win over Celta Vigo on Sunday. He was the subject of interest from Liverpool in the summer, but Atletico quelled that immediately. The 24-year-old has, without question, been the star of La Liga thus far this season.

Real Betis' Salva Sevilla celebrates his goal on November 5, 2012
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona44001111012
2Sevilla431061510
3Real Sociedad430111749
4Real Madrid42209458
5Atletico MadridAtletico42208358
6Athletic Bilbao42113127
7Villarreal42026516
8Levante41305416
9Valencia41304316
10Leganes42023306
11Las PalmasLas Palmas420257-26
12Real Betis420257-26
13EibarEibar420224-26
14Getafe411234-14
15GironaGirona411235-24
16Espanyol411238-54
17Celta Vigo410357-23
18Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo4013511-61
19Malaga400416-50
20AlavesAlaves400407-70
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