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Sports Mole's La Liga Team of the Week

Sports Mole selects its 11 star performers following another pulsating weekend in La Liga.

Real Madrid took control of the La Liga title race this weekend following surprise defeats for Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, who sit second and third respectively.

The battle for fourth also intensified as Athletic Bilbao, Villarreal and Real Sociedad all picked up maximum points on what was another pulsating round of fixtures in Spain's top flight.

Week 25's action opened on Friday evening as Real Valladolid held high-flying Levante to a 1-1 draw, with that result moving the home side to within three points of safety.

Real Madrid moved to the top of the table and continued their long unbeaten run – which stretches back to October – with a 3-0 win over Elche on Saturday, before Celta Vigo and Getafe shared the points in a 1-1 draw.

Barcelona's poor recent record at Sociedad continued in the penultimate match on Saturday as the champions lost 3-1 in San Sebastian, before Almeria and Malaga completed the evening with a drab goalless draw.

Sevilla got their European challenge back on track with a 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano in Sunday's opener, but basement side Real Betis's problems continued as they lost 2-0 at home to Bilbao.

Valencia's 2-1 victory over Granada preceded the shock result of the weekend as Osasuna put three unanswered goals past Atletico, who have now lost four of their last six in all competitions.

The week's action concluded on Monday evening as Villarreal moved above Sociedad into fifth with a 2-1 success over in-form Espanyol in Barcelona.

Here, Sports Mole selects its 11 star performers following another terrific weekend in La Liga.

Sergio Asenjo (Villarreal)
Asenjo's last-minute penalty save against Espanyol on Monday ensured that Villarreal picked up all the points with a 2-1 win. Throughout the contest, the on-loan Atletico Madrid goalkeeper was dominant in the air and composed in possession. It was a brilliant all-round display from the Spanish shot-stopper.

Jordan Loties (Osasuna)
The 29-year-old saved his best performance in an Osasuna shirt for Sunday's 3-0 win over Atletico in Pamplona. The French defender won his personal battle with Diego Costa, who cut an isolated figure for the entirety of the match. Loties also used the ball intelligently before departing to a standing ovation 10 minutes from time.
Mikel Gonzalez (Real Sociedad)
Gonzalez was in fine form on Saturday as Sociedad recorded a 3-1 win over Barcelona in San Sebastian. The Spaniard coped impressively with the interchanging Barcelona attack, while he came close to finding the back of the net on a couple of occasions. It was arguably the 28-year-old's best performance of the season.
Ruben Vezo (Valencia)
The Portuguese scored his first Valencia goal on Sunday and it was a big one as his stoppage-time strike secured his side all the points in a 2-1 victory over Granada. The 19-year-old will be remembered for that one moment, but the centre-back was also brilliant in defensive areas alongside the ever-improving Jeremy Mathieu.

Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia)
The 24-year-old continued his sparkling run of form with an assist in Valencia's 2-1 success over Granada on Sunday. After a quiet first period, the midfielder came alive in the second half, with Granada simply unable to deal with his pace and movement in the final third. His performances have been key in Valencia's recent six-match unbeaten league run.
Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla)
Is there a better set-piece deliverer in La Liga than Rakitic? The Croatian notched another assist on Sunday as Sevilla won 1-0 at Rayo. The midfielder has long been linked with a move away from the Estadio Ramon, but a new deal is believed to be close. Every single week it is an 8/10 or above for the 25-year-old playmaker.
David Zurutuza (Real Sociedad)
Zurutuza was handed a rare Sociedad start on Saturday and he played a key role as his side secured a 3-1 win over Barcelona. The midfielder scored the all-important third goal just before the hour mark, but it was overall work that gains him a spot this week. The 27-year-old was simply everywhere in a brilliant all-round midfield performance.
Alvaro Cejudo (Osasuna)
The 30-year-old opened the scoring after six minutes in Osasuna's 3-0 win over Atletico on Sunday. His strike, which came from a well-rehearsed corner routine, set the tone for the remainder of the evening. The Spaniard and his teammates were starved of the ball in the second period, but the damage had already been done.
Nahuel Leiva (Villarreal)
On his first La Liga start, 17-year-old Nahuel was terrific in Villarreal's 2-1 win over Espanyol. The Argentine played a key role in the first goal of the evening as his cross was turned into the back of the net by fellow youngster Moi Gomez. It was panic stations for the home side each time the attacker had possession in the final third.

Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad)
The 22-year-old took his goal tally to 19 for the season with Sociedad's second in Saturday's 3-1 win against Barcelona. The Frenchman also assisted Zurutuza as the home side scored twice in the early stages of the second half. It seems extremely unlikely that the Basque outfit will be able to keep hold of the talented attacker this summer.
Jhon Cordoba (Espanyol)
Had the Colombian started Espanyol's 2-1 defeat to Villarreal on Monday, then it might have been a different result. The explosive forward entered proceedings at the interval and ran the show in the second period. He netted after 78 minutes before playing a key role in the award of a late penalty, but his skipper Sergio Garcia missed the chance to level for the home side.

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Real Madrid's forward Jese Rodriguez Ruiz celebrates his goal during the Spanish league football match Valencia vs Real Madrid at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia on December 22, 2013
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Sports Mole's La Liga Team of the Week
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rhs 2.0
Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
JapanJapan114520
United StatesUnited States1010929
ChinaChina105823
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78419
AustraliaAustralia61815
Great BritainGreat Britain56415
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Athletic Bilbao00000000
2Atletico MadridAtletico00000000
3Barcelona00000000
4CadizCadiz00000000
5Celta Vigo00000000
6AlavesAlaves00000000
7ElcheElche00000000
8Espanyol00000000
9Getafe00000000
10Granada00000000
11Levante00000000
12Mallorca00000000
13Osasuna00000000
14Rayo Vallecano00000000
15Real Betis00000000
16Real Madrid00000000
17Real Sociedad00000000
18Sevilla00000000
19Valencia00000000
20Villarreal00000000

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