La Liga: Five Crucial Moments in Matchweek Four

The Spanish top flight saw key results change the shape and look of the table, as it often does during the season’s early stages. Real Madrid returned to winning ways at Real Sociedad, while Sevilla and Atletico Madrid both earned 1-0 victories.

Although Barcelona remained atop La Liga with their fourth victory, there was certainly negative news in terms of injuries. Summer-signing Ousmane Dembele was subbed off early in the first half of the Blaugrana’s 2-1 win at Getafe, and has put plans on-hold for the present time at the Camp Nou.

We highlight five key takeaways from the weekend’s action in Spain’s first division.

The champions earn three points

Los Blancos faced a difficult challenge at the Estadio Anoeta, as Real Sociedad always seem to find a way to win at home. But there were plenty of positives in the attack, especially from Borja Mayoral and Gareth Bale.

The title-holders earned a 3-1 result to move up to fourth place and are within four points of Barcelona.

The game was also the final match of Cristiano Ronaldo’s domestic ban, so expect the front-line to be even more effective mid-week against Real Betis.

Sevilla’s defensive excellence continues

Newly-promoted side Girona have been competitive thus far this season, and did their best to upset visiting Sevilla on Sunday.

But Los Nervionenses and their disciplined defence were certainly prepared, securing a 1-0 victory. The club now sit second in the table with ten points, and have allowed only one goal.

Sevilla manager Eduardo Berizzo will be pleased with the result, but will want to see more in the final third.

Griezmann opens Atletico’s new home with a win

Saturday brought the opening of Atletico Madrid’s new home ground against Malaga, and the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano is certainly an impressive setting. Anxious supporters were able to truly celebrate in the second half, thanks to star striker Antoine Griezmann.

The French international scored the winner in the 61st minute to give Los Rojiblancos a 1-0 victory.

The attack still requires improvement, but the likes of Gabi, Koke and Jan Oblak continue to shine for Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone.

Villarreal forwards dominate

It was Villarreal’s defence last season in the spotlight, but their strikers were the headline story at Deportivo Alaves on Sunday afternoon.

Cedric Bakambu’s brace and a strike from Carlos Bacca were enough for a 3-0 win.

Manager Fran Escriba has major talent at the top of his 4-4-2 formation, and this could become a familiar sight for the Yellow Submarine in 2017-18.

Replacing Dembele at Barcelona

Maximum points through four matches is fantastic for Barcelona, but injuries made this weekend feel like a loss.

Ousmane Demeble is expected to miss several months after a hamstring injury early in the team’s match on Saturday. A second-half comeback was also required, as hosts Getafe did not make proceedings easy on the visitors.

Goals from Denis Suarez and Paulinho brought three points. But it will be up to manager Ernesto Valverde to fill the void left by Dembele in the coming weeks.

Barcelona return to action mid-week versus SD Eibar.

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