10 things we learned from LaLiga this weekend

PETE JENSON: Lewandowski and Benzema are already locked in top scorer race, Iago Aspas really should be in the Spain team, Sevilla are in deep trouble and will Eden Hazard’s Madrid misery end? 10 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM LA LIGA

  • Defending champions Real Madrid lead the way after dramatic win at Espanyol
  • Karim Benzema scored twice and is already fighting with Barca’s Lewandowski 
  • Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio could be in their final days at Real Madrid 
  • Manuel Pellegrini, 68, has still got it with Real Betis starting the season strongly 

The third round of the LaLiga season ended with reigning champions Real Madrid on top following their 3-1 win at Espanyol, while Real Betis continued their perfect start to the season by beating Osasuna.

Barcelona thrashed Valladolid 4-0 with Robert Lewandowski netting twice while there were also wins for Celta Vigo, Real Sociedad, Mallorca and Almeria.

Sportsmail’s man in Spain, Pete Jenson, rounds up what we learned from the latest set of Spanish fixtures.

1. Asensio and Hazard for sale… but does anyone want them?

Real Madrid will accept offers for Marco Asensio or Eden Hazard before Thursday’s deadline. Neither played any part in the team’s dramatic late victory over Espanyol.

The problem will be a lack of takers. Asensio has Jorge Mendes trying to find him a club but as things stand neither he nor Hazard has a suitor that interests the player.

Eden Hazard’s miserable time at Real Madrid could finally come to an end this week

2. There’s already controversy in the top scorer race 

Seven goals in three games between Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema and it’s clear the battle to finish top scorer in Spain will reflect Madrid and Barca’s title race.

There’s controversy already, too, with some arguing Lewandowski’s second goal against Valladolid would not have gone in if it had not deflected off a defender and so he should have three like Benzema.

Marca have given him the goal and it’s their goals table that counts in Spain.

There was controversy over a deflection for Robert Lewandowski’s second goal on Sunday

3. Almeria’s Sadiq and Ramazani are dynamic duo

Almeria’s front two have both scored twice and could be the strike partnership of the season if the club don’t sell them this week.

Umar Sadiq is overpriced at 30m euros [£25.6m] but then that didn’t stop Newcastle signing Isak for £60m and the Nigerian forward scores more goals.

Largie Ramazani, meanwhile, has magic in his feet; the former Manchester United youth team player was unplayable again as Almeria beat Sevilla on Friday.

Largie Ramazani (left), a former Man United youth teamer, has impressed for Almeria

4. Spain’s best striker isn’t in the Spain team

Spain coach Luis Enrique doesn’t fancy Iago Aspas and we can only assume that’s for non-football reasons because on the pitch – apart from Ansu Fati when fit – there is no one better.

He was the top scoring Spaniard in LaLiga last season with 17 and with three in three this season he has continued in the same vein.

How ever was he so poor at Liverpool? And why is he not in the Spain squad?

Iago Aspas scored 17 goals in LaLiga last season and has already started on fire this season

5. Old rocker Pellegrini still top of the pops

Betis don’t have any money, they have struggled to register new signings and Hector Bellerin wants to go there but they can’t afford him.

But Betis have Manuel Pellegrini, so no problem. He was not too old to model the club shop on the touchline during last year’s spectacular cup run which ended in them lifting the trophy.

And when his Betis team visit the Santiago Bernabeu next Saturday it will be a top of the table meeting of two sides with a 100 per cent record.

They have started well, and he’s got a meeting with his old ‘pal’ Jose Mourinho to look forward to in the Europa League. 

69 next month, he is still one of the best in the business. 

Real Betis boss Manuel Pellegrini is 69 next month but remains one of the best in the business

6. So much to do, so little time

This could be the busiest close to a transfer market in a long time with so many clubs needing to move players and make signings. 

Real Sociedad must sign at least one striker to replace Isak but Valencia have beaten them to the signature of Edinson Cavani. 

Espanyol forward Raul de Tomas is also up for grabs. Villarreal will sell if someone makes a serious offer for Danjuma or Yeremy Pino. 

And Barcelona still need to complete the sale of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang before Thursday. 

Barcelona have yet to complete the sale of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with time expiring

7. Man City shouldn’t be troubled by Sevilla

Project Monchi is stalling. They have one point from three games and desperately need reinforcements with former City midfielder Fernando now struggling to hold things together in the middle of the pitch for them.

They need a striker but have no money. An early exit from the Champions League will be expensive though – it’s stick or twist time for LaLiga’s most important director of football.

Sevilla’s Lucas Ocampos and Rafa Mir looked dejected as their side lost 2-1 away at Almeria 

8. Laporta keeps gambling and keeps winning

Sporting a shiner in the directors box on Sunday (the result of an ‘unimportant domestic accident’ according to the club) Joan Laporta had plenty to smile about as Barcelona beat Valladolid.

He put up his own money in the form of a deposit lodged with LaLiga last week so the club could register Jules Kounde.

The defender played his part as Barca turned on the style again in front of another huge crowd.

There were 84,000 to watch it, and that after 81,000 watched the first home game of the season. The ‘if we build it, they will come’ approach seems to be working.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta was sporting a shiner from an apparent ‘domestic accident’

9. Outfield player in goal will never lose its charm

Short of seeing a keeper go forward to get his head on the end of a corner, few things top an outfield player taking the gloves. Some even end up as matchwinners.

Leandro Cabrera didn’t make it into that club on Sunday night. He was so shattered from having chased the shadow of Benzema for 90 minutes he could only watch as the Frenchman’s free-kick sailed past him.

Espanyol’s Leandro Cabrera takes the gloves following Benjamin Lecompte’s sending off

10. The 100-minute match could be here to stay

That third goal from Real Madrid was scored with 100 minutes on the clock and several games at the weekend made it to minute 100.

It’s true that cooling breaks will be ditched once temperatures drop, but there is a desire to add on every minute possible this season and punish time-wasting teams.

A player can now come on at minute 85 and still have quarter-of-an-hour to influence the game. 




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