There were 22 goals in just four games in LaLiga on Sunday as Girona, Real Madrid and Barcelona all romped to victory – although Real Madrid’s romping came with a little help from VAR.
At the other end of the table, Almeria may have suffered defeat by Los Blancos, but their two goals in defeat were a sign of the football they can play, and are sure to be back stronger in two years time as second division winners, barring a miraculous comeback.
Girona’s victory gives them their best points haul in the top flight ever, and there are a few others hoping to top personal bests this season.
Alvaro Morata scored in the Monday night game and is now just two goals from his best ever.
Here are 10 things we learned from LaLiga.
Jude Bellingham and Real Madrid beat Almeria in a game overshadowed by VAR on Sunday
A Ferran Torres hat-trick helped Barcelona beat Real Betis 4-2 and stave off pressure on Xavi
Man City chief Txiki Begiristain was in the crows to watch Girona beat Sevilla at home
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City chief seeing stars at baby-brother club Girona
Txiki Begiristain was at Girona on Sunday night to watch one of the City Group’s rising stars.
The 19-year-old winger Savinho did not disappoint with two assists in a 5-1 win over Sevilla. He will also have taken note of left-back Miguel Gutierrez, the former Real Madrid youth teamer spends most of game wandering infield and played a sublime pass to help Savinho set up the fifth.
In fact Txiki will have noticed everyone, because Girona were brilliant (again) staying top of La Liga.
A star is born for Barcelona
Remember the name: Pau Cubarsi.
He was picked on Sunday to play at the heart of Barcelona’s defence just a day short of his 17th birthday, and he was brilliant.
He anticipated with intelligence and he distributed with imagination and precision. His legs gave up on him with 10 minutes left but he looks like a sensational find for Barcelona.
Pau Cubarsi was picked to take on Real Betis for Barcelona despite being just 17 years old
Morata finally turning into the striker he should be
Alvarato Morata’s goal gave Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win over Granada and sent his team back into the top four.
The Spain striker now has 13 in LaLiga, just two short of his best league tally ever (15 at Real Madrid in the 16-17 season).
And only needs one more goal to reach 20 for the season in all competitions – it’s shaping up to be his best campaign ever by some margin.
Alvaro Morata is now only two goals away from his best ever haul in LaLiga with 13 to his name
Dovbyk could push Jude for top scorer…
Another star of Girona’s season is Ukraine striker Artem Dovbyk.
His six-minute first half hat-trick in the win took him to 14 goals – level with Jude Bellingham as La Liga’s top scorer.
He is only 10 away from the tally he managed last season at Dnipro in Ukraine.
…but taking pens will help him in the fight
It wasn’t the best of the penalties, straight down the middle and not particularly well hit but that will not bother Jude Bellingham.
He more than played his part in Real Madrid’s comeback against Almeria and the fact that he is now going to share penalty responsibilities with Vinicius will only boost his chances of staying top scorer in Spain until the end of the season.
Bellingham’s penalty was not the best he’s ever taken but it was enough to prove the difference
Lewandowski’s time as a Barca invincible is over
There was a time when Robert Lewandowski was never taken off by Xavi no matter how badly he was playing but these days Xavi does things his own way and it was the Pole who made way in the second half against Betis with Ferran Torres staying on.
Torres was once the easiest player to remove but he saw the course to complete his hat-trick and is now just one goal behind Lewandowski with seven goals.
There has been a power shift at the club and the former Manchester City striker is beginning to reap the rewards of digging his coach out of some pretty big holes with his goals.
The Isco Disco is louder than ever
It’s been seven years since midfielder Isco got into double figures for goals in one season but he is halfway there after his brace against Barcelona.
Has there ever been a more remarkable comeback from a player? He looked like an ex-pro in his last season at Madrid and his only season at Sevilla.
Now he runs games for Betis playing a brand a football we have not seen from him since his days at Malaga 11 years ago, when he was also coached by Manuel Pellegrini.
Isco is halfway to double figures after scoring a brace against Barcelona as he continues his remarkable comeback
Almeria too good not to come back up
Get your money on Almeria to win the second division next season now.
Well maybe wait to see if they keep all their players, but it’s certainly true that they play a far better level of football than their awful six points from 21 games haul suggests.
They put two past Real Madrid but were still beaten on Sunday. They are down bar the football miracle to end all football miracles but if they retain their players they should bounce back.
VAR audios making a bad situation worse
More confirmation of what we already knew – VAR is making every controversy over every decision ten-times worse than when it was just the immediate call from the man in the middle.
It was more difficult to call conspiracy when it was the referee deciding in the moment but now as two officials debate every call it’s easier to see foul play at work. And now that the audios from the conversations between match referee and VAR referee are available it’s even worse.
It’s all well and good hearing the officials say things like: ‘show me from the back’, and ‘show from the side’ but unless we are getting explanations as to why a hand ball that is clearly neither deliberate nor committed by a player who has adopted and ‘unnatural’ position then we remain none the wiser.
The penalty that helped Real Madrid beat bottom club Almeria on Sunday should not have been given.
And then on Sunday when somebody leaked another audio to a Catalan media that showed a conversation that did not result in a VAR check (a possible foul from Vinicius) then the conspiracy theories go back into overdrive.
VAR is making every controversy over every decision ten-times worse then when it was just the immediate call from the man in the middle
Missing striker more to blame than Sergio for club’s fall
There was a tearful press conference from sacked Cadiz coach Sergio Gonzalez on Monday.
He joined the club midway through the season two years ago and saved them from relegation. He saved them from the drop again last season.
He needed a centre-forward in the January market after his first choice Roger Marti was ruled out for the rest of the season. Instead he got the boot.
There will probably be more tears at Cadiz on the final day unless – whoever takes over as manager – they buy a new No 9.