It was a near-perfect afternoon for Casemiro on Saturday as he scored not once, but twice for Real Madrid as they narrowly defeated Sevilla 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Just one goal is rare for the Brazilian but two in the one game is almost unheard of, with the visitors on the wrong side of his dominating performance for Los Blancos. His command of the ball was typically effective as he completed 41/48 passes, but obviously added to this was an attacking dimension to his game. For the opening goal of the match, he burst into the box to send a lovely dink over the oncoming goalkeeper, while for his second, which turned out to be the winner, he sent a precision header home after the assist from Lucas Vazquez.
After six games without a victory in La Liga, Mallorca finally got back to winning ways to put a couple of points between themselves and the relegation zone, and in surprising fashion too as they beat Valencia 4-1. Key to gaining all three points was Ante Budimir, who scored two and set up another. His first came slightly fortuitously as he stuck out a leg to deflect home a strike from a team-mate, but there was nothing fortunate about his second as he danced past his marker inside the box before lashing a left-footed strike across the keeper into the right corner. Then, to make it 4-0, he laid a perfect pass into the path of Dani Rodriguez, who drilled a strike home.
Staying with Mallorca now, and veteran midfielder Salva Sevilla was also superb for the home side in the victory versus Los Che. He assisted the opening goal of the game with a cross into the centre of the box for Antonio Raillo to head into the corner, and then provided another, this time for Budimir, with a slick pass into the feet of his team-mate from outside the area. His passing was exemplary, too, as he completed 45 out of 50 attempted balls to team-mates.
Real Betis moved up to 11th in the table after an impressive 3-0 win versus Real Sociedad, with Sergio Canales emerging as the man of the match with a goal and an assist. It was the opening goal which he set up with a curled corner kick from the right-hand side, while he continued to pose a threat from set-pieces thereafter as he very nearly actually scored straight from a corner, only for Sociedad keeper Alex Remiro to save just on the line. He eventually did get his goal, though, after sending a lovely finish into the near corner with his left foot from around eight yards out.
It was by no means a vintage performance from Barcelona as they had to rely on a moment of magic from Lionel Messi to earn the narrow 1-0 win against Granada. But, it was Sergio Busquets who kept the Blaugrana ticking away in midfield with his authority over possession, as he completed a quite astonishing 145 out of 157 passes. To put that into context, the next highest tally for completed passes in the league this weekend was Samuel Umtiti with 105. He also excelled in defensive areas, too, making 14 ball recoveries and winning 12/16 duels.
Lionel Messi (8.5) proved to be the match winner for Barcelona after some gorgeous interplay between himself, Antoine Griezmann, and Arturo Vidal. His finish into the corner was expertly taken, with him always looking the most likely Barca player to break the deadlock.
ROUND TO FORGET
Espanyol actually earned a rare victory (just their third of the season) against Villarreal but very nearly shot themselves in the foot again, going down to 10 men after Javi Lopez (4.8) got send off after two yellows. This was after he had lost 3/4 tackles and the majority of his duels.