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Sports Mole's La Liga Team of the Week

Sports Mole picks out its 11 star performers from week 18 in La Liga.

Barcelona got their revenge on La Liga champions Atletico Madrid this weekend with a 3-1 win over the capital outfit on Sunday evening.

Atletico secured the league title at Camp Nou last season, but Barca's formidable front three were all on the scoresheet on Sunday as the Catalan outfit closed the gap on leaders Real Madrid to just one point.

Real were in action on Saturday and it was a fairly routine afternoon for Carlo Ancelotti's side as they returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Espanyol.

Sevilla moved fourth, meanwhile, with a 2-0 win over Almeria on Sunday, but in-form Valencia dropped points at Celta Vigo to relinquish the final Champions League position.

Week 18's action opened on Friday evening, but it was not a start to remember as Levante and Deportivo La Coruna shared the points in a drab goalless draw.

It was sixth against seventh at La Rosaleda on Saturday evening, but Malaga and Villarreal could not be separated in a 1-1 draw.

Eibar closed Saturday's action and the newly-promoted side, who were tipped to struggle this season, continued their incredible campaign with a 2-1 win over Getafe, with that result moving them eighth.

Elche moved off the bottom on Sunday, meanwhile, as they won 2-1 at Athletic Bilbao, before Real Sociedad's away troubles continued with a 1-1 draw at basement side Granada.

Cordoba then moved out of the relegation zone on Monday evening with a 1-0 win at Rayo Vallecano, who missed the chance to move ninth.

Here, Sports Mole has picked out its 11 star performers from what was another entertaining weekend of La Liga action.

Juan Carlos (Cordoba)
Rayo had 14 attempts during Monday's meeting with Cordoba, but could not find the back of the net. Poor finishing was partly to blame, but Carlos must be credited for a number of excellent saves, especially in the second period. The Spaniard was the key contributor to his side's shock 1-0 victory.

Damian Suarez (Elche)
It has been a very difficult season for Elche, but they moved off the bottom on Sunday with a 2-1 win at Bilbao. The home side forced the issue in the latter stages, but Suarez marshalled his defence to close the door. It was an experienced and selfless display from the hard-working 26-year-old.
Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
The Frenchman was excellent during his side's 3-0 win over Espanyol on Saturday. Defensively, the centre-back did not put a foot wrong, while he was a serious threat from set pieces down the other end. It is vital that the 21-year-old now receives a regular run in the Real Madrid XI.
Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
It would be fair to say that Pique struggled to find his best form in the early part of the season, but the Spaniard is now on the right track. He was Barca's best defender during their 3-1 win over Atletico, with Mario Mandzukic struggling to make his mark against the centre-back.
Edimar Fraga (Cordoba)
Cordoba face a fight to remain in La Liga this season, but they made it back-to-back wins with a 1-0 victory over Rayo on Monday. At the forefront of their strong performance was Edimar, who only joined on loan from Chievo last week. The 28-year-old added class and composure to their backline.

Ander Capa (Eibar)
Eibar recorded their eighth league win of the season on Saturday as they beat Getafe 2-1 on their own patch. Capa has been key to his side's impressive season and that was again the case at the weekend. It was the midfielder's strike after 51 minutes that ultimately proved decisive.
Vicente Iborra (Sevilla)
The midfielder is not known as a goal-scorer, but he notched Sevilla's first in their 2-0 win over Almeria on Sunday. The goal in itself was impressive, but Iborra's best work came in defensive areas. His star moment came in the second period when he cleared a goal-bound effort off the line.
Isco (Real Madrid)
It seems a long time ago that the Spaniard could not force his way into Real Madrid's first XI. Los Blancos were not too impressive on Saturday despite comfortably beating Espanyol, but Isco was the best player on the pitch. The midfielder just radiated class each time he had possession of the ball.
Faycal Fajr (Elche)
It is only right that Elche have two players in this side following their battling win at Bilbao on Sunday. It needed to be an energetic performance in the second period and Faycal was up to the task. It was also the 26-year-old's goal that ultimately proved to be the winner at San Mames.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Messi has struggled against Atletico in recent matches, but that was not the case on Sunday. The Argentine played his part in the first two goals at Camp Nou, before scoring the third of the night. The Spanish champions just could not live with the movement and guile of the attacker.
Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
The Uruguayan had his best night in a Barca shirt on Sunday. He set up Neymar for his side's first of the match, before scoring the second. The forward's combination work with Messi and Neymar was a joy to behold and it has sent out a serious message to the whole of Europe.

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Antoine Griezmann of Atletico de Madrid celebrates scoring their opening goal during the La Liga match Levante UD on January 3, 2015
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La Liga Team of the Week
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Madrid75202181317
2Real Sociedad7511106416
3Sevilla6420102814
4Atletico MadridAtletico742196314
5Rayo Vallecano7412137613
6Barcelona6330115612
7Real Betis7331117412
8Valencia7322128411
9Osasuna73221011-111
10Athletic Bilbao724164210
11Villarreal61506338
12Mallorca7223612-68
13Espanyol713347-36
14CadizCadiz7133711-46
15ElcheElche713348-46
16Celta Vigo6114610-44
17Levante7043612-64
18Granada6033511-63
19AlavesAlaves6105211-93
20Getafe7007212-100

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