Sports Mole's La Liga Team of the Week

Sports Mole's La Liga Team of the Week
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Sports Mole selects its 11 star performers following another entertaining weekend of La Liga action.

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid's 100% records came to an end in La Liga this weekend, allowing Real Madrid to close the gap at the top of the table to just three points.

There were also wins for Real Sociedad, Getafe, Rayo Vallecano, Elche, Levante and Athletic Bilbao in another pulsating three days of football in Spain's top division.

Week nine's action opened on Saturday as Real Madrid claimed all three points in a 2-0 win over Malaga, before Real Sociedad warmed up for their Champions League trip to Manchester United with an impressive 2-1 win at the Mestalla against Valencia.

Osasuna became the first team this season to take league points off Barcelona as they held the champions to a goalless draw in Pamplona, before Atletico Madrid's perfect start came to an end when they went down 1-0 at Espanyol.

Getafe continued their fine run of form with a 2-0 win over Granada in the opening match on Sunday – a result that moved the away side into fifth spot in the table. Almeria are still looking for their first league win on their return to La Liga, however, after they lost 1-0 to fellow strugglers Rayo Vallecano.

Elche also continued their impressive form with a 2-1 win in Seville against Real Betis, before Sevilla passed up the chance to record their first away win in La Liga since September 2012, as they conceded twice in the final 10 minutes to draw 2-2 with Real Valladolid.

It was another uncomfortable evening for Celta Vigo boss Luis Enrique on Monday as his side lost 1-0 at home to Levante, before Athletic Bilbao completed the set of fixtures with a 2-0 win over Villarreal, who remain in fourth position despite the defeat.

Here, Sports Mole selects its 11 star performers following another entertaining weekend of La Liga action.

Willy Caballero (Malaga)
But for the Argentine's heroics on Saturday, Malaga would have lost by more than two goals at Real Madrid. The home side had an incredible 15 attempts on target, but Caballero was on hand to make five or six world-class saves, let alone average ones. He might have been on the losing side, but the result took nothing away from the experienced keeper's stunning performance.

Alex Galvez (Rayo Vallecano)
It appeared as if Almeria and Rayo Vallecano were heading for a dull goalless draw on Sunday afternoon, but Galvez had other ideas as he sent a stunning free kick into the top corner after 78 minutes. It is not just his strike that earns him a spot in this team, however, with the 24-year-old impressing with a towering performance in defence.
Alejandro Arribas (Osasuna)
Arribas has had his struggles this season, but he was in sensational form in his side's goalless draw against Barcelona on Saturday. Not too many teams prevent the Spanish champions from scoring, which is an indication of just how well their back four performed. The 24-year-old was a key part of their shut-out as he made a number of last-ditch challenges throughout the 90 minutes.
Marc Bertran (Osasuna)
Alongside Arribas, Bertran was the star of the show in his side's 0-0 draw with Barcelona on Saturday. The 31-year-old used all of his experience in the latter stages as he quelled the danger on a number of occasions. Osasuna have struggled this season, but their performance at the weekend has shown that they can compete at this level.
Juan Fuentes (Espanyol)
It was the 23-year-old's cross that Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois deflected into his own net in Espanyol's 1-0 win over the capital outfit on Saturday evening. The Spaniard was also prepared to go head-to-head with Diego Costa, while he was a key reason why the likes of Raul Garcia and Gabi were so quiet.

Simao (Espanyol)
The Portuguese might be entering the latter stages of his career, but he showed that there is plenty of life in his 33-year-old legs in Espanyol's 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Saturday. He might not have been too heavily involved in an attacking sense, but his defensive work was quite outstanding. Time and time again, he used all of his experience to crush attacks before they became dangerous.
Ruben Pardo (Real Sociedad)
The highly-rated youngster has struggled to make a serious impact over the last couple of seasons despite his incredible talent, but he was the star of the show in Sociedad's 2-1 win over Valencia at the weekend. The 20-year-old scored his side's second after 58 minutes – a goal that capped a fine midfield display. He has firmly put himself in his manager's thoughts for the weeks ahead.
Patrick Ebert (Real Valladolid)
In terms of natural talent, there are not many better than Ebert in La Liga. In truth, he flattered to deceive for large periods of Real Valladolid's 2-2 draw with Sevilla on Sunday, but he came alive in the latter stages. Sevilla looked on course for a rare away win after 84 minutes, but the German had other ideas as he struck a beautiful free kick into the top corner.
Pape Diop (Levante)
Just how Levante managed to beat Celta Vigo on Monday evening is a mystery. The away side failed to create a single chance of note, but picked up all the points when Diop rattled one into the bottom corner from outside the box. It is not the first time that the midfielder has produced the spectacular this season, while his performances in recent months have not gone unnoticed.
Pedro Leon (Getafe)
The talent of Leon was never in doubt, but it remained to be seen whether he could rebuild his career after leaving Real Madrid. That has now been answered, with the Spaniard in stunning form in the last couple of weeks. He continued his hot streak in front of goal with his side's second in their 2-0 win over Granada on Sunday.

Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao)
Room for just the one striker in this team this week and that position goes to Aduriz. The 32-year-old led the line spectacularly in his side's 2-0 win over high-flying Villarreal on Monday evening and scored their second after 35 minutes to put the Basque outfit in total control of proceedings.

Barcelona's Neymar celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Malaysia XI during a friendly match on August 10, 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