Madrid, Spain| XINHUA | Real Sociedad went to the top of La Liga after the sixth round of games which saw both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid crash to defeat. Here are some things we learned this weekend in Spain:
1. Real Madrid’s problems come home to roost
All of Real Madrid’s issues came home to roost at the same time as they lost 1-0 at home to recently promoted Cadiz on Saturday.
Zinedine Zidane’s side have, at times, lacked ideas in attack this season. Apart from a dipping shot from Karim Benzema, they failed to create anything of note against a well-drilled rival.
Meanwhile, injury to Sergio Ramos and the lack of a specialist right back, with Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola injured, coupled with another poor display from Marcelo, left Madrid looking vulnerable at the back.
With just a week until they play FC Barcelona, Zidane has work to do.
2. Barca have their own problems
Under normal circumstances, Barca fans would usually be rubbing their hands in anticipation at facing Real Madrid in the Camp Nou next weekend, but their own form has also given reason to worry.
Barca lost 1-0 to Getafe after a game where they were unlucky not to take the lead in the first half, but failed completely to respond after Jaime Mata’s match-winning penalty.
Barca again looked sluggish with the ball, while Ousmane Dembele lost possession time after time, Griezmann failed to make an impact and missed the best chance of the game, and even Leo Messi was invisible in the second half.
The fact that teenage signing Pedri was Barca’s best player should be a big worry for Ronald Koeman and the coach’s initial impact now seems to have worn off.
3. Change at the top
While Real Madrid and Barca were both out of form, it allowed other teams enjoy their moment in the sun, and Real Sociedad took the moment perfectly with a 3-0 win away to Betis to move to the top of the table.
Betis will argue about a couple of big VAR decisions which went against them, but Real Sociedad looked to have rediscovered the form they produced before the coronavirus lockdown in March.
Imanol’s side were solid in defense, led excellently by Mikel Merino in midfield and have a mixture of pace and power in attack.
4. Parejo plays the key role to defeat his former club
Villarreal moved into second place after a 2-1 win over Valencia thanks to a winning goal from Dani Parejo, which must have rubbed salt into the wounds of Valencia coach Javi Gracia.
Gracia was close to resigning a week ago in protest at his club’s failure to make any signings this summer when key players, including Ferran Torres, Rodrigo Moreno and (of course) Parejo were moved on to help cut the wage bill.
Last week saw Valencia midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia also strongly criticize the club, accusing the directors of misleading both himself and the coach. Kondogbia was also missing in Villarreal, while Gracia was left to sit in the dugout, no doubt reflecting on the cruelties of fate.