La Liga, had a hiccup week that saw nearly the entire top of the table lose points if not necessarily ground. Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Valencia, dropped points while only Atletico Madrid managed to pull ahead. As the leader board stratified, Barcelona remained on top at 36 points, with Valencia at 31, Atleti at 30 Real Madrid ahead of Sevilla on goal differential at 28 points, and Villarreal (21) and Leganes (20) as the only other teams at twenty points or above.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi continued to dominate the scorers’ table, leading it with 13 goals, followed by Valencia’s Simone Zaza and Villarreal’s Cedric Bakambu at nine each. An interesting note is that at ninth through eleventh on the table, Real Sociedad, Celta Vigo and Real Betis, have each scored more goals than every team above them save Barcelona and Valencia. Of the twenty teams on the table only Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have allowed goals in the single digits.
The fourteenth round, for in a World Cup year La Liga is rarely a weekly event, began with a 0-0 draw between hosts Malaga and visiting Levante. Then, in quick succession on Saturday, Barcelona drew 2-2 at home with Celta Vigo, tenth on the table, Atletico Madrid needed an 88th minute score to win at home against a tough Real Sociedad, Sevilla defeated visiting Deportivo 2-0, and Athletic Bilbao held Real Madrid to a 0-0 draw.
On Sunday, Leganes surprised visiting Villarreal beating them 3-1 while hosts Getafe defeated second place Valencia 1-0. Eibar played poor hosts to Espanyol beating them 3-1 while Las Palmas won 1-0 against visiting Real Betis.
Among the must-see matches of week fifteen will be Real Madrid playing hosts to Sevilla, Valencia hosting a puffed-up Celta Vigo, Villarreal welcoming Barcelona and Espanyol hoping to put things in proper order against visiting upstarts Girona.
Thereafter, while the rest of La Liga continue competing, Real Madrid travel to the United Arab Emirates to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup (December 6-16) only to come back home to greet archrivals Barcelona in the first Clasico of the season, to be played a week later, on Saturday, December 23, at 7:00 AM EST.