The Big Three of Spanish Football took twelve weeks to reach the summit of the standings in the 2019-20 La Liga season. As the dust settled before the FIFA break, Barcelona at 25 points led the table, followed by Real Madrid at 25 but a couple of goals off the leader’s pace, and Atletico Madrid was in third with 24 points.
A season that saw seven different teams lead the standings over the first eleven weeks finally settled into control by the usual suspects. First up for the Big Three, Barca won its Saturday match 4-1 over visiting Celta Vigo, then Real Madrid won 4-0 away to Eibar, and finally, Atletico Madrid played poor hosts defeating visiting Espanyol 3-1 on Sunday.
The league round began with Real Sociedad being held at home 1-1 by Leganes on Friday. On Saturday, Alaves won 3-0 at home over Real Valladolid and Valencia won 2-0 over visiting Granada. On Sunday, hosts Mallorca defeated Villarreal 3-1, Athletic Bilbao made home turf count in their 2-1 win over Levante, Osasuna held hosts Getafe to a 0-0 draw and Real Betis lost 1-2 at home to Sevilla.
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema led all scorers with nine goals and three assists while Barcelona’s Lionel Messi inched into second with eight goals and four assists, putting two Big Three players on top of the table, followed by Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno and Real Betis’ Loren Moron at eight a piece.
At the Camp Nou, Messi treated his home fans to a hat-trick that consisted of a perfectly placed trio of spot-and-free kicks. The first was a low and powerful penalty shot into the goalkeeper’s lower right corner and the next two were carbon copy free kicks from about 20-25-yards and from the left of the half-moon of Celta’s goal to mid-height and to the left of the keeper’s divvying tries. Golazos all in their own way.
Real’s win consisted of a penalty and poach for a Karim Benzema brace, a penalty for Sergio Ramos and a nicely placed shot from just inside the box following a inch-perfect Luka Modric pass.
Atleti’s win was a comeback with Espanyol taking a 1-0 first half lead and Angle Correa drawing his side even in stoppage time. In the second half, Alvaro Morata and Koke sealed the deal. The Big Three could go into the FIFA break breathing easier.