Barcelona bounced back from their league loss against Levante and disappointing draw against Slavia Prague in the Champions League with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Celta, and they have Messi to thank for getting back to winning ways. The Blaugrana captain scored a hat-trick with each goal coming from a dead ball. The first was a comfortably dispatched penalty, while his next two were fabulous free-kicks from similar ranges to each other. Even though opposition goalkeeper Ruben Blanco knew exactly what Messi was planning, especially for the second free-kick, the quality of the strikes were simply too good for him to react in time.
After another two league draws in a row, Atletico claimed all three points against Espanyol, largely due to the creativity from Vitolo on the left wing. Diego Simeone's men actually went 1-0 down but quickly recovered after goals from Angel Correa and Alvaro Morata, with Vitolo setting up the latter. The former Sevilla winger made 20 passes into the final third and had eight touches inside the Espanyol box, too.
Benzema's rich vein of goalscoring form continued for Real Madrid as they beat Eibar 4-0 away from home, with the Frenchman getting on the scoresheet twice within the first 30 minutes. The first was a very impressive finish as the ball broke to him at a tight angle to the left of goal, allowing him to send a left-footed strike home despite the small margin to the line. The second, meanwhile, was a confidently taken penalty. He had 11 touches inside the Eibar box, and misplaced just five passes.
Another goal from the penalty spot for Sergio Ramos in the aforementioned win over Eibar, as he won the battle of wits against goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic. No Panenka this time, but the finish into the bottom left corner was typically composed. Defensively the Madrid captain was solid as he won 7/11 duels, 4/5 aerial duels, and made seven ball recoveries and nine clearances. He lost possession just seven times with his distribution from the back.
Athletic moved up to sixth in the Primera Division after narrowly defeating Levante 2-1. Capa had a hand in both goals as he set up the equaliser for Iker Muniain before emerging as the match-winner with a goal of his own with two minutes remaining. The assist was a deep cross to the back post, while the winning goal was an absolute screamer, as he caught a magnificent volley bouncing into the bottom corner after a corner-kick was cleared out of the area. He also made five ball recoveries and won 100% of his tackles.
Real Sociedad could only manage a 1-1 draw with Leganes, but Mikel Merino (8.3) deserved more as he was the best player on the pitch, scoring the only goal of the first half. His best work, arguably, came defensively though as he made 10 ball recoveries and three interceptions.
ROUND TO FORGET
Valladolid were easily beaten 3-0 by Alaves at the weekend, and it was a day to forget for goalkeeper Jordi Masip (4.9) who was ineffective between the sticks in his attempts to stop the three goals. He only made two saves all afternoon, while continually adding pressure to his team-mates by completing just 16 out of 29 passes.