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La Liga Team of the Week – Week nine

Sports Mole picks out its star La Liga XI from week nine in Spain's top flight, which saw wins for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Just four points now separate leaders Real Madrid from fifth-placed Villarreal following another pulsating round of La Liga fixtures, which also saw Barcelona move level on points with Los Blancos with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Eibar.

Real Madrid continued their unbeaten start to the campaign with an impressive 3-1 win at fourth-placed Celta Vigo on Saturday, while Atletico Madrid moved into third, just two points off the summit, following a 2-1 win over Valencia.

Down at the bottom, Levante's struggles continued as they were beaten 4-0 at home by Real Sociedad, which led to the sacking of Lucas Alcaraz, but Granada did pick up a point in a 1-1 draw with Real Betis.

There was also improvement for Las Palmas, who under new manager Quique Setien managed to secure a point in a goalless draw with Villarreal, who missed the chance to move above Celta into fourth.

Week nine's action kicked off in the Spanish capital on Friday as Rayo Vallecano moved on to 10 points for the season with a 3-0 win over Espanyol, who have since dropped into the bottom half of the table.

On Saturday, Sevilla made it three wins in four matches with a thumping 5-0 victory at home to Getafe, before Malaga eased some of the pressure on head coach Javi Gracia with a 2-0 win at home to sixth-placed Deportivo La Coruna.

As mentioned, Sunday brought important wins for Sociedad, Barcelona and Atletico, before the latest round of fixtures drew to a close on Monday evening, with Athletic Bilbao moving clear of the relegation zone courtesy of a 3-0 win against Sporting Gijon.

Here, Sports Mole has picks out its star XI from week nine in Spain's top flight.

Keylor Navas (Real Madrid)
Put in one of the most outstanding goalkeeping performances in recent memory on Saturday as Real Madrid won 3-1 at Celta. The Costa Rican pulled off a host of top-class saves in Vigo, including three or four in the latter stages of the first period when Los Blancos were wobbling at the back. It is difficult to imagine that Real would have collected all the points on a difficult ground without Navas.

Mariano (Sevilla)
Has not received many headlines following Sevilla's 5-0 win over Getafe on Saturday, but the right-back was one of the stars of the show at the Estadio Ramon. Getafe just could not live with the defender's rampaging runs forward and it was the 29-year-old that won the home side's third penalty of the night. The Brazilian just did not stop running throughout the entirety of the match.
Aythami Artiles (Las Palmas)
Villarreal did not have a single attempt on target in their 0-0 draw with Las Palmas on Sunday and while the Yellow Submarine's forwards were far from their best, Las Palmas' back four had a big part to play in the shutout. Artiles's organisational skills proved key in securing the clean sheet, while he headed clear everything that came into the penalty box. It was a super defensive performance.
Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Once again put in an excellent performance as Real Madrid continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 3-1 victory at Celta. The left-back has been one of Los Blancos' best players in the early part of the campaign and he capped another fine display with his team's third at the weekend. The 27-year-old has not missed a single minute of league action for his club this term.

Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (Atletico Madrid)
The Belgian has taken time to settle at Atletico following his summer move from AS Monaco, but he now looks capable of performing week-in week-out to the level expected under Diego Simeone. The attacker scored his team's second in their 2-1 win over Valencia after releasing a long-range strike, but it was his overall display, which oozed class, that made such a big impression this week.
Casemiro (Real Madrid)
Injuries to key players have opened up a spot in the Real Madrid midfield and the Brazilian has made full use of his opportunity to secure a run in the side. The 23-year-old did not over-complicate matters in the middle of the park, while his ability to nick possession became a key feature of Real's performance in Vigo. Rafael Benitez appears to be a big fan of the midfielder and it is not a surprise.
Yevhen Konoplyanka (Sevilla)
Has ambitions of playing for Barcelona and more performances of this standard might make that dream a possibility. The Ukraine international ran Getafe riot in Seville, winning the first of his team's three penalties, before scoring the third in their 5-0 victory. The visitors just could not come to terms with the 26-year-old's movement and ability in possession during what was an outstanding display.
Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad)
Managed to ease some of the pressure on under-fire Sociedad boss David Moyes with a big performance against Levante on Sunday. The attacker has had a frustrating start to the season due to injury, but he scored twice in Sociedad's 4-0 success in Valencia. This was much more like it from the 26-year-old Mexican, who had not registered in the league this season entering Sunday's fixture.

Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao)
Neymar had sat in this position until Monday, when Aduriz scored twice in Bilbao's 3-0 win over Sporting Gijon. Neymar had a super game as Barca beat Eibar on Saturday, but Aduriz cannot be left out after he played a key role in the Monday night fixture. The 34-year-old has now found the back of the net eight times in nine league appearances for his Basque side this term.
Kevin Gameiro (Sevilla)
One of two players to score a treble in this round of La Liga fixtures. The Frenchman had only netted twice in Sevilla's opening eight league games this season, but hit a brilliant hat-trick against Getafe on Saturday evening. Two goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half saw the hosts take control of the contest, before the 28-year-old striker added his third from the penalty spot late on.
Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
Lionel Messi's continued absence means that Barcelona need to share the goals around, and Suarez was the latest player to step forward following Neymar's exploits last weekend. The Uruguay international showed his deadly finishing ability with three excellent finishes as the Catalan outfit beat Eibar 3-1 on Sunday. Now has seven goals in eight league games this season.

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Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva Santos Junior gestures during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs UD Las Palmas at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 26, 2015
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