La Liga

La Liga Top Five, Round Seven: Ekambi and Moreno are Villarreal's stars

Ter Stegen is Barca's best performer while Partey is the derby star

8:30am on Monday 30th September 2019
Paul Macdonald

It was a low-key week in La Liga.

Atletico and Real played out a tentative 0-0 draw in the Madrid derby in a game which neither side wanted to lose, while Barcelona had their goalkeeper to thank for achieving victory in Granada.

Villarreal were undoubtedly the team of the round, taking apart Betis with a brilliant attacking display in the second half.

Villarreal have an abundance of attacking talents that are easy on the eye, and Ekambi was integral to their destruction of a Betis side that imploded in the final moments of a 5-1 loss. Ekambi displayed expert finishing to glance home a header for the opener then show supreme composure to slide home the clinching goal near the end. Ekambi isn't the type to get involved - he completed just eight passes in 80 minutes - but he gets the job done in front of goal.

Gerard Moreno has made an excellent start to the season, he has six goals in seven games, scoring every 98 minutes, and his second-half outing in Villarreal's defeat of Betis got everything right. His beautifully-weighted pass made life easy for Ekambi before going through on his own to swerve his finish confidently into the corner. He is a performer that could be set for an even higher level by the end of this season.

Dani Parejo, even at the age of 30, remains one of the more reliable midfielders in La Liga and in the heat of San Mames he won, and kept, the ball so well that Valencia were able to take the points. He completed 68/73 (93%) of his passes, touched the ball 98 times (T1 for the round), won 4/6 tackles, made nine recoveries, two interceptions and two clearances. An all-round exemplary display.

It's indicative of Barcelona's decidedly shaky away form that the best player on the pitch in their scrappy 2-0 win at Getafe was Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. He only made one save - but what a save, making himself huge to deny Angel from the edge of the six yard box. His distribution is always good, and he even got himself an assist, his fired clearance sending Luis Suarez clear to open the scoring. Barca are fortunate to have one of the best all-round goalkeepers in the world.

The Madrid derby is unlikely to live long in the memory but Thomas Partey was unquestionably the best player on the pitch. His midfield display was impressive in every characteristic, completing 71/79 (89%) of his passes, while off the ball he was victorious in 8/10 duels, 3/3 tackles, while he made nine ball recoveries. Partey is somewhat an unsung hero in this Atleti side but he is seriously coming to prominence as a favoured Diego Simeone player.


Granada goalkeeper Rui Silva (7.9) was the difference as his team scraped a 1-0 draw over Leganes, while Santi Cazorla (7.8) continues to belie his age with another huge display in Villarreal's Betis win.


Betis' defence were doing reasonably well until the final 10 minutes, when they fell to pieces under immense Villarreal pressure.

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