Sports Mole's La Liga Team of the Week

La Liga Team of the Week
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Sports Mole selects its 11 star performers in La Liga following another pulsating weekend of action in Spain's top division.

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid both led the La Liga table for periods of the weekend, but Barcelona finished Week 21 top of the pile with a 3-0 win over Malaga on Sunday evening.

It remains incredibly tight at the top of the division, however, with Atletico level on points (54) with the leaders and Real just one point from first position with 17 matches to play.

The week's action began with a goalfest on Friday evening as Celta Vigo poured more misery on basement side Real Betis with a 4-2 win at the Balaidos.

Real moved temporarily top of the division on Saturday afternoon with their 2-0 win over Granada, but Villarreal's top-four hopes took a hit when they were beaten 1-0 by Real Valladolid, with that result moving the latter to within two points of safety.

Valencia picked up a 2-2 draw at home to Espanyol in the penultimate match of Saturday, before Sevilla's eight-match unbeaten run came to end as they lost 3-2 to Levante at the Estadio Ramon.

Almeria also eased their struggles this weekend with a 1-0 victory over Getafe in Sunday's opener, before Athletic Bilbao consolidated their spot in fourth with a thumping 5-1 success at Osasuna.

Atletico's couple of hours at the summit arrived following a 4-2 win over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday evening, but Barcelona restored normal service with a 3-0 win over struggling Malaga.

The week's action ended on Monday evening as Real Sociedad kept their top-four hopes alive with a 4-0 victory over Elche, who now sit just one spot outside of the relegation zone.

Here, Sports Mole selects its 11 star performers in La Liga following another pulsating weekend of action in Spain's top division.

Keylor Navas (Levante)
Navas, again? It is just impossible to leave him out at the moment. Sevilla had 10 shots on target in their 3-2 defeat to Levante on Saturday, but were beaten due to the performance of the away side's goalkeeper. The 27-year-old Costa Rican has developed into one of the best shot-stoppers in La Liga this season and was once again up to his old tricks with a host of stunning saves in Seville.

Rafita (Almeria)
Almeria moved clear of the relegation zone on Sunday with a 1-0 win over Getafe. It was a match of few chances, but Rafita was the star of the show. Not only was the 31-year-old solid in defensive areas, he was also calm and composed in possession, which rubbed off on his teammates. It was an experienced and mature display from the Spaniard.
Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
Had Pique had his shooting boots on this weekend, then he might have had a hat-trick in Barcelona's 3-0 win over Malaga. The centre-back scored the all-important first goal at the Camp Nou in the latter stages of the first period, with his strike calming those inside the stadium. The Spaniard was also his usual physical presence in both boxes on Sunday evening.
Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
A series of niggling injuries have disrupted Alba's season thus far, but he is now getting back to his best. The left-back was in imperious form in Barcelona's 3-0 triumph over Malaga. The visitors simply could not deal with the Spaniard's pace in the final third, while he was also on hand to produce a number of last-ditch challenges and vital clearances in defensive areas.

Fabian Orellana (Celta Vigo)
It hasn't quite happened for the 27-year-old at Celta Vigo this season, but the Chilean was in fine form on Friday as his side recorded a 4-2 win over Real Betis. Both of the attacker's goals were of the highest order, while his movement in the final third caused the visitors all sorts of problems. Celta supporters will demand more of the same in the months ahead.
Simao Junior (Levante)
It was the 25-year-old's late goal that secured Levante all three points in their 3-2 win over Sevilla on Saturday, but it was the midfielder's all-round performance that gains him a spot in this team. Not only did Simao make a number of key challenges throughout the 90 minutes, but he also demonstrated his under-rated ability on the ball. It was a real all-action display from the midfielder.
Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao)
Manchester United's summer interest certainly harmed Herrera's form in the early part of the season, but he has been nothing short of sensational in recent weeks. The 24-year-old further demonstrated his importance to Athletic Bilbao this weekend with two brilliant assists in the Basque outfit's 5-1 win over Osasuna in Pamplona.
Arda Turan (Atletico Madrid)
Tactically astute and incredibly hard-working, Turan is not really known as a regular scorer. That changed this weekend as the Atletico Madrid midfielder scored twice in his side's 4-2 win over Rayo Vallecano in Madrid. The 26-year-old was a constant menace throughout the 90 minutes, with the hosts simply unable to deal with his five-star performance.

Jhon Cordoba (Espanyol)
Cordoba has shown plenty of promise this season, but not much in the way of an end product – that changed this weekend. The 20-year-old was in devastating form as Espanyol drew 2-2 with Valencia at the Mestalla. The Colombian opened the scoring with a stunner after three minutes, before winning the penalty that allowed Sergio Garcia to level. It was a powerful and dominant performance.
Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao)
Aduriz was among the goals this weekend as he scored twice in Athletic Bilbao's 5-1 win over Osasuna in Pamplona. With Kike Sola now fit and breathing down his neck, Aduriz has been forced to raise his performances and that has indeed been the case in recent weeks. The 32-year-old was at his dominant best on Sunday afternoon.
Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad)
Griezmann's hat-trick in Real Sociedad's 4-0 win over Elche on Monday took him to 15 league goals in 20 appearances this season. The Frenchman has attracted interest from across Europe with his performances over the last 12 months, with bids expected to arrive this week or in the summer. Each of the 22-year-old's goals on Monday were different and demonstrated his incredible talent.

Villarreal's Mexican forward Giovani Dos Santos celebrates his goal during the Spanish league football match Villarreal CF vs Valencia CF at the El Madrigal stadium in Villareal on October 27, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona98102632325
2Valencia963025101521
3Real Madrid96211871120
4Atletico MadridAtletico9540145919
5Leganes952283517
6Villarreal95131510516
7Real Betis95131917216
8Sevilla951398116
9Real Sociedad84131917213
10Celta Vigo93241814411
11Athletic Bilbao93241010011
12Levante9252911-211
13Getafe9234111019
14Espanyol8233711-49
15Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo8224916-78
16EibarEibar9216320-177
17GironaGirona8134713-66
18Las PalmasLas Palmas9207722-156
19AlavesAlaves9108314-113
20Malaga9018420-161