After two rounds of matches in La Liga, the international break arrives at a key time. The summer transfer window closes today, as clubs around Europe look to complete deals that will improve their squad.
The early stages of the season see three sides at the top of the table with maximum points (Real Sociedad, Barcelona, Leganes), while titleholders Real Madrid surprisingly dropped points at home against Valencia.
We highlight the best players from around the Spanish top flight in match week two.
GK – Kepa Arrizabalaga – Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao earned an important victory away to Eibar on Sunday thanks to the heroics of Kepa Arrizabalaga. The 22-year-old goalkeeper commanded his area well and made five saves.
The Spanish international kept his back-line organised, resulting in an impressive clean sheet for the team.
Bilbao finished seventh in La Liga last term. But if Arrizabalaga continues this type of form, they may be able to improve upon that this season.
LB – Jordi Alba – Barcelona
It is a new world for Barcelona since the sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, but the positive results have not disappeared. Left-back Jordi Alba was instrumental in the Blaugrana’s 2-0 win at Alaves.
The defender was a constant threat in the attack on the left side and recorded an assist on the team’s second goal.
Even amidst doubt after one of their best departed this summer, Barcelona have begun the current campaign quite well.
CB – Pedro Alcala – Girona FC
Newly-promoted side Girona earned three points this past weekend in a 1-0 victory over Malaga, with centre-back Pedro Alcala finding the winner.
Although the club lost a 2-0 lead to draw ten-man Atletico Madrid in their opening game, an unbeaten start is certainly a positive.
Alcala’s play in central defence can help to solidify Girona’s place in the first division this season if his strong form continues.
CB – Martin Mantovani – CD Leganes
Leganes have enjoyed an excellent start to 2017-18 and found the season’s second league victory thanks to the spectacular play of defender Martin Montovani.
The centre-back netted the only goal of a 1-0 victory at Espanyol.
Lega look to earn a third consecutive victory when they host Getafe on September 8.
RB – Gabriel Mercado – Sevilla FC
Sevilla and manager Eduardo Berizzo were minutes away from a deflating draw at Getafe until a scintillating pass from Gabriel Mercado found Paulo Ganso in the area to secure a 1-0 victory.
The right-back was a menace on the right flank and put in strong defensive work to help earn the clean sheet as well.
Mercado is a defender who can truly have an impact everywhere on the pitch.
MF – Andres Guardado – Real Betis
Real Betis earned a key 2-1 result against Celta Vigo, and it was their midfield maestro at the heart of the attack.
Andres Guardado assisted both goals for Los Verdiblancos, along with sharp movements and accurate passing throughout the encounter.
The Mexican international can be a threat in a variety of ways for manager Quique Setien this season.
MF – Xabi Prieto – Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad earned an impressive 3-0 win over the usually stern Villarreal defence, with Xabi Prieto’s work in the middle helping to open up space in the opposing half.
The 33-year-old’s touch on the ball is of a high quality, and his vision can create opportunities for team-mates in the final third.
In his 500th appearance for La Real, Prieto again displayed why he is so important to the club.
MF – Koke – Atletico Madrid
The week’s most dominant showing belonged to Atletico Madrid, as Los Rojiblancos thrashed Las Palmas 5-1. Koke was at the top of his game throughout the encounter.
The Spanish midfielder scored two goals and was able to stifle the host’s attack.
Manager Diego Simeone can once again count on the determination and work-rate of Koke in 2017-18.
FW – Marco Asensio – Real Madrid CF
The result may not have been there, but Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio made quite the statement. The 21-year-old scored both goals in Los Blancos’ 2-2 draw with Valencia.
With Cristiano Ronaldo out due to suspension, Asensio’s performance was truly needed by manager Zinedine Zidane.
Madrid look to bounce back against Levante on September 9.
FW – Angel Correa – Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann may have been suspended, but that did not stop the team’s attack or Angel Correa this past weekend.
The 22-year-old scored a goal and kept the pressure on the opposition in Los Colchoneros’ 5-1 victory at Las Palmas.
Despite rumours of him leaving the club this summer, Atletico would be wise to keep hold of Angel Correa in the future.
FW – Lionel Messi – Barcelona
Lionel Messi’s magic was on full display against Alaves this past weekend and was truly overwhelming late in the match.
Barcelona’s 2-0 win at the Estadio Mendizorrotza featured two second-half goals from the Argentine wizard.
Manager Ernesto Valverde’s side now prepare to face Catalan rivals RCD Espanyol after the international break on September 9.