La Liga wrap: Simeone’s Atletico move level on points with Barça
Atletico are La Liga's team to watch at the moment as Diego Simeone's men moved level with Barça, writes Tom Wellman
Atletico go level with Barcelona after late Malaga victory
Without a doubt the team to watch at the moment are Atletico Madrid, who went level on points with Barcelona after they made it six straight wins with victory over Malaga. Radamel Falcao returned to the side after injury to trouble the South Coast side throughout and it was he who opened the scoring after six minutes on a night when the big players proved true to their reputations. Roque Santa Cruz equalised for Malaga, who were also unbeaten in La Liga, and they appeared to have sealed a point but deep into stoppage time Falcao put pressure on Wellington who fired into his own net. After seven games, the table sees Barça level with a team from the capital but not the one we would have envisaged.
Derby defeat continues Valencia’s misery
Atletico may be giving everything they have got in the early stages of this season and impressing many, but it is easy to forget that Valencia finished above them last year. However, after a poor start to this season, Los Che will do well to repeat that third-place finish following their third defeat of the season. To make matters worse, it was local rivals Levante who took the points from them in the Valencian derby. Both teams were in action midweek but Valencia could not build upon their 2-0 victory over Lille and fell to a 1-0 defeat courtesy of Obafemi Martins’ stunning strike. Manuel Llorente has only been in the job since the summer but it would be no surprise if he is the first managerial casualty of the season.
No win in six drops Deportivo into bottom three
Since the opening day win over Osasuna, Deportivo de La Coruña have struggled to adapt to life back in the top tier. A third consecutive defeat pushed the Galician team into the relegation zone and dashed the early season hopes of a European finish. It appears that the club may have begun the season well using the momentum gained from winning the Liga BBVA title last year but it now appears as though the players need to adapt more. Defeat to Rayo, who recovered brilliantly from their heavy defeat to Valladolid last week, means that Jose Luis Oltra has work to do before the board decide to relinquish his position. The 5-1 defeat to Real last week was expected, yet their defending fell some way short of the standard Oltra sets his players. He may prefer to play an expansive passing game but considering the way the team are playing, he may have to change his philosophy.
Getafe gracious for Zaragoza’s lack of discipline
Two red cards meant Real Zaragoza fell to within a single place of the bottom three after defeat to Getafe on Saturday. Romaric was dismissed for a dangerous high tackle in the first half and then Alvaro was harshly – and perhaps wrongly – adjudged to have brought down Pedro Leon in the area for the match-winning penalty. Getafe should have won the game by then to be fair as Barrada and Leon missed great chances to break the deadlock. Instead Diego Castro scored the resulting penalty and sealed the points for Getafe who win for the second game in a row. Zaragoza seem to be in for another season of worry.