La Liga returned with a full slate of games and rewarded our patience through the international break with some interesting results.
Real Madrid became the first of the three title chasers to drop points after a 2-2 draw against Villarreal at El Madrigal. Barcelona and Atletico Madrid stayed on track with wins, opening up a small gap at the top of the league. The real interesting stories happened farther down the table so lets take a look at what we learned this weekend in Spain.
Levante 0-0 Real Sociedad
La Real are still good, a team that will be challenging for a European spot, but they aren't perfect. Case in point, a lackluster performance against Levante who are definitely better than the hiding they took in the opening week against Barcelona, but are a team La Real should beat. These games happen though and perhaps Real Sociedad was looking ahead a bit to their Champions League match.
Osasuna didn't even get a "new coach bump" in Javi Gracia's first game in charge. It's their fourth straight loss to start the season as Los Rojillos are quickly digging themselves an ugly hole at the bottom of the table. For Getafe the win rockets them all the way up to 13th, which is good for their confidence but they're going to need some positive results against more convincing opponents before they're removed from the relegation pool.
Malaga 5-0 Rayo Vallecano
Holy cow where did this come from?! Malaga hadn't looked as bad as I expected over the first few weeks but there was nothing to hint at a result like this. Credit to Bernd Schuster and his players for getting a great result against a Rayo side that is really not good right now. Oh yes, Rayo. This is their second 5-0 loss of the season...and they've only played four games! Things are not looking good for Paco Jémez, especially since Rayo finished 8th last season.
Espanyol have a long way to go this season but they have to be thrilled with their two win, two draw start. For a team that spent most of the season last year battling relegation, sitting in fifth placed must feel pretty damn good. It's not a "false positive" either. Espanyol have a good win over Valencia and a solid draw against Real Betis, so while they've not yet been tested against the big boys, it's not like they've been beating up on minnows either.
Here's the rest of the results from week four in Spain's top flight:
Real Betis 3-1 Valencia
Atletico Madrid 4-2 Almeria
Elche 0-0 Real Valladolid
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Celta Vigo