It's still early in the season but for the first time in years, it's beginning to feel like there might an honest to goodness title race developing in La Liga between three teams, rather than the usual two-horse race.
This isn't exactly a new revelation based on the first eight weeks of play, but thanks to lackluster performances by both Barcelona and Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid are back within three points of the top. Barcelona were held to a scoreless draw at Osasuna as they simply couldn't find a way to score goals. Even the return of Lionel Messi in the second half wasn't enough to help the Blaugrana find a winner. Atléti were even worse in their loss against Espanyol as their offense looked completely stale and short on ideas.
Real Madrid took care of Málaga despite a heroic effort from goalkeeper Willy Caballero who did his best to help the Anchovies steal some points. Real Sociedad finally won a game again -- just their second of the season -- as they look to get their season back of track.
In the "cool story of the season" position sits Elche who, thanks to their win over Real Betis, moved all the way up to ninth in the table. Not a bad spot early in the year for one of the newly-promoted sides. Logic says they may not be able to hang around at those lofty heights, but every point they pick-up now could make life in the spring much easier.
Here's all the result from week 9 in Spain:
Valencia 1-2 Real Sociedad
Espanyol 1-0 Atlético Madrid
Almeria 0-1 Rayo Vallecano
Real Betis 1-2 Elche
Real Valladolid 2-2 Sevilla
Celta Vigo 0-1 Levante