What an interesting round of Spanish top-flight football did we just witness! The action began on Friday with Athletic Club's 0-0 draw with Levante, but it was during the weekend when all the fun took place.
Xavi led Barcelona onto the pitch for the first time as manager on Saturday and enjoyed a debut win as the Blaugrana overcame Espanyol 1-0 in the Catalan Derby. Similarly, Atletico Madrid earned a 1-0 triumph, beating Osasuna to keep up pace in the title race.
Real Madrid, who appear to be the favorites for the title this term, marched to a comfortable 4-1 win over Granada. However, it wasn't a good weekend for every top side in the Spanish Primera Division as Real Sociedad were held to a goalless draw by Valencia. Sevilla met a similar fate in their game, drawing 2-2 with Alaves. Here's everything you need to know about the recent round in La Liga.
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Xavi made his official debut as the new Barcelona manager, leading the club from the dugout for the very first time in the 1-0 weekend victory over Espanyol. Not only did the Spaniard triumph in his debut, but he also did it by overcoming the Blaugrana's bitter Catalan rivals. However, it was not an easy fixture as the Camp Nou side slowly lost their dominance and thus conceded 12 shots, the most shots faced by any Barca manager in his La Liga debut since Frank Rijkaard against Athletic in August 2002 (17).
Real Madrid beat Granada 4-1 over the weekend and set several feats along the way. First of all, it was their 12th consecutive victory over this side, making it is Los Blancos' third-longest winning streak against a single opposition behind only Rayo Vallecano (17 wins in a row between 2000 and 2018) and Real Sociedad (13 between 1959 and 1970).
Vinícius Junior also reached a lovely milestone. The Brazilian got his name on the scoresheet, and as a result, he became the first La Liga player born in 2000 to score at least 10 goals across all competitions.
And finally, Real Madrid's iconic midfield trio of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, and Casemiro made history. For the first time, all three registered assists in a single game, with the German setting up two goals while the Croatian and Brazilian racked up one each.
Rayo Vallecano, who are currently sixth in the league, recorded a 3-1 victory over Mallorca at the Estadio de Vallecas, thus stretching their unbeaten home run this season to six games, their longest streak since October 2002 (P8, W5, D3).
Real Sociedad suffered a slip-up in the recent round, drawing with Valencia to surrender the no.1 spot to Real Madrid in La Liga. However, La Real managed to register their ninth clean sheet of the season in that tie, the most number of shutouts by any team in Europe's top five leagues.
Barcelona starlet Pedri was recently named the winner of the Golden Boy award, becoming the first Spaniard to win it since Cesc Fabregas in 2006 and Isco in 2012. He is also only the second Barcelona player to lift this prize since Lionel Messi back in 2005.
Top matches to watch in La Liga Liga: Nov. 26-29, 2021
Villarreal vs Barcelona: Xavi began life at the Camp Nou with a win but will be back in for a tough test next round as his side will visit Villarreal. Emery's crew have not been at their best in the league, but the Yellow Submarine have lodged in impressive displays in Europe and are thus a team to be reckoned with. Will Xavi make it two wins in a row or will the newly-appointed manager suffer his first slip-up? Tune in to find out.
Espanyol vs Real Sociedad: La Real's goalless draw over the weekend means they are no longer the top team in La Liga. That title has been relinquished to Real Madrid. However, with Los Blancos gearing up for a tough test, Real Sociedad know they can return to the summit should they go back to winning ways. Espanyol sit in their way, however, and having lost 1-0 at the Camp Nou recently, the Catalan outfit will not want to make it back-to-back defeats.
Real Madrid vs Sevilla: The league leaders will be taking on third-placed Sevilla, who boast the second-best defense this season. The visitors have only conceded nine goals this term, a record bettered only by Athletic Club (8), with Jules Kounde and Co. mounting an impressive title challenge. However, Ancelotti's side boast the best attack in the league, and by a mile, netting a whopping 32 times. Which side will emerge triumphant? Do not miss this showdown.
*Keep track of all the activities in the Spanish top-flight by following our dedicated La Liga competition page.