La Liga, Week 4: Real Madrid Continue Tough Opening At Sevilla

Cristiano Ronaldo is still sad--for completely incomprehensible reasons, as far as we can tell--and playing Sevilla this week won't cheer him up. But hey, maybe being back in Madrid will help his tan? No? Well, I can't help you there, then.

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La Liga 2012, Week 4: Barcelona Makes Madrid Sweat, Málaga, Valencia Sweep

Getafe 1-4 Barcelona

What began as a bit of a gritty battle ended up as a walk in the park for Tito Vilanova's Barcelona, despite Tito's absence from the sideline (he was suspended for an incident during the Supercup with Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrão). Adriano put the Blaugrana ahead just before the halfway mark with a nice shot, after a brilliant play by Cesc, who had been marginalized recently. The blaugrana seemed more or less in control, but Getafe didn't seem to be about to give up.

And that might have been because Barça hadn't brought out their gun yet. And yes, in this analogy, Geta is fighting with a pistol and Barça are fighting with some sort of sword--or, I guess, a slightly better pistol while saving a machine gun strapped to their back. When Lionel Messi finally came on--59th minute--the game pretty much ended. Leo scored twice--the first on an obvious penalty, the second after a fantastic collective maneuver--and Barcelona were coasting.

The only blot on the record for Barça--and I don't mean the goal--came when captain Carles Puyol went down grabbing his knee. The play looked pretty unpleasant, though it's unclear whether the injury will be anything more than a minor contusion. Javier Mascherano came on for Puyol, and almost immediately scored on his own team. Chapeau. David Villa would cap the blowout in the 90th minute.

Málaga 3-1 Levante

So Málaga's still good, I guess. Javier Saviola (yeah, him), was the man of the match this time for the malagueños, who dominated a poor Levante side from beginning to end. Sure, Levante would tie the score after the Saviola goal, but this side looks nothing like the well-organized bunch that threatened to make a run at the top four for a huge chunk of last year. They were sloppy, inaccurate, not composed, and generally lacked the air of "we're a brick wall" that characterized their games last season.

Joaquín--off a brilliant ball from Saviola--and Portillo would round out the final score for a Málaga side that has registered its' best start of a season ever, with 10 points out of a possible 12.

Valencia 2-1 Celta de Vigo

Just when you thought we'd understand the Liga, this kind of game happens. It's not the result that I'm talking about--a 2-1 was pretty predictable--but rather the way that Valencia grabbed the game. Celta is not a great team; they're fighters, sure, proud to be back in the first division, and looking to make it stick. But they're definitely not a team that Valencia should have an real issue with. But today, Valencia reverted to the old, "who the hell knows?" mentality, looking shockingly unprepared and overmatched. Feghouli put them ahead minutes into the game, and that was pretty much the high point for them; Celta would equalize a few minutes later, and only really payed for their defensive mistakes once, when Valencia barely broke through to score the winner in the 50th minute.

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