Manuel Queimadelos Alonso
Real Madrid and Barcelona cruised on Saturday, while Valencia clinched a huge win and Malaga faltered.
Real Madrid and Barcelona win most of their matches very comfortably, but still manage to stick in the spotlight. This week's wins were so comfortable and so obvious that they truly were the third and fourth most important matches of the day, as the race for third place was shaken up considerably.
Malaga 1-2 Rayo Vallecano
Malaga didn't rest any of their stars in anticipation of upcoming Champions League action, and might wish that they would have done so. Rayo midfielder Piti scored twice to hand them their first home loss of the season. With their win, Rayo are now top half, while Malaga have fallen down to fourth place.
Barcelona 3-1 Celta Vigo
This match appeared to be interesting for all of two minutes. After Adriano's 21st minute opener, Celta Vigo scored a shocking equalizer through Mario Bermejo, partially thanks to some iffy goalkeeping by Victor Valdes. David Villa essentially ended the match by putting Barcelona ahead two minutes later, and Jordi Alba sealed three points for the Blaugrana in the second half.
Real Madrid 4-0 Real Zaragoza
No Khedira? No Marcelo? No problem. Luka Modric and Michael Essien stepped into the Madrid midfield and performed admirably. The pair even got a goal apiece for their trouble, in garbage time. Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria scored the game's first two goals, before a half hour had passed.
Valencia 2-0 Atletico Madrid
No one -- not even Real Madrid or Barcelona -- is expected to get three points at the Mestalla, but Atletico Madrid were a bit disappointing on Saturday. Roberto Soldado won the match for Valencia early, with a fantastic 20th minute volley. Ricardo Costa was sent off late for the hosts, but Nelson Valdez scored a surprise late clincher with 10 men on the pitch. Valencia, who started the season very slowly, are now very much back in the race for third place with Atleti and Malaga.