PETE JENSON: Xavi is lucky to still have Frenkie De Jong at Barcelona, Real Madrid have their very own Neymar(s) and Antoine Griezmann is still loved despite the cash row… 10 THINGS WE LEARNED from LaLiga this weekend
- Frenkie De Jong has started to prove his worth at Barcelona once again
- Real Madrid have two Brazilian superstars in Rodrygo and Vinicius
- A crowd incident at Cadiz showed life and death is more important than football
- Sportsmail’s Pete Jenson picks out 10 things we learned from LaLiga
Real Madrid hit four past Real Mallorca on Sunday to maintain their 100 per cent start to the season, while Barcelona kept up the pressure on their rivals by scoring four goals of their own at Cadiz.
Meanwhile, Real Betis beat Villareal in the best of the rest in LaLiga this weekend as the Yellow Submarine finally conceded their first goal of the season.
There was also double Valverde brilliance, frustration for Gattuso, and that regular reminder that football is not more important than life and death, as Pete Jenson analyses 10 things we learned from LaLiga this weekend.
1. The referee’s a lifesaver
Carlos del Cerro Grande was the man in the middle during Barcelona’s win over Cadiz and it was his decision to stop the game with nine minutes left because he had become aware that a spectator needed urgent medical care.
Play could have continued while medical staff dealt with the incident but with the game stopped everyone’s attention focused on the heart attack victim and from that moment there were many heroes. One medic, Cadiz fan Cristian Cornejo was close to the incident and came to the stricken spectator’s aid.
There was a cardiologist ‘Carlos’ in the main stand and he made his way across the pitch to help. Barça medical staff got the life-saving defibrillator on to the pitch and Cadiz goalkeeper Ledesma carried it, sprinting, to the patient.
Referee Carlos del Cerro Grande made a crucial decision to stop the game so that a fan could receive medical attention
When the fan was resuscitated it was Cadiz sub Jose Mari who helped medics carry a stretcher to the patient who having been revived was taken to hospital.
Those involved say preparations for such moments can still be improved with a defibrillator in each stand but with the patient understood to be progressing satisfactorily, a life was saved on Saturday.
2. Xavi was lucky Frenkie de Jong stayed
No one doubts the quality of Bernardo Silva but the net gain would have been debatable had he arrived and De Jong left.
In midweek in the Champions League De Jong was outstanding in the absence of Sergio Busquets, playing a defensive midfield role Silva would not have suited, and on Saturday he was outstanding further forward as Barcelona beat Betis.
Frenkie De Jong has shone in his last two matches, proving his worth to Barcelona
3. Lewandowski doesn’t need long
He was rested in readiness for the Bayern Munich test that awaits him on Tuesday night.
But Barcelona needed his goals against Cadiz and in just nine minutes he got his ninth goal in all competitions for Barcelona. He was also the architect of Ansu Fati’s goal in the 4-0 win.
Robert Lewandowski came off the bench to score an important goal against Cadiz
4. Hazard is not a false nine
Chelsea fans would be the best judge of whether or not he ever was. What is clear that at this point in his career, he’s not up to the job of replacing the absent Karim Benzema.
He looked sharp enough in Real Madrid’s win over Celtic in the Champions League but Real Madrid were much better when he went off and Rodrygo and Vinicius played closer together.
Eden Hazard has shown that he is not a like-for-like replacement for Karim Benzema
5. Madrid have the new Neymar(s)
When Real Madrid talent spotterJuni Calafat was charged with making sure that never again would the club miss out on the best Brazilian talent to Barcelona, his success was a while coming, but boy was it worth the wait.
Vinicius will inherit Neymar’s crown as the best Brazilian on the planet and his pal Rodrygo will not be far behind him.
If all three connect in Qatar their country will be World Cup favourites.
Rodrygo and Vinicius have developed a lethal partnership at Real Madrid
6. Who dares wins
Julen Lopetegui was one bad result away from the sack and he decided if he was going down he was going to do it his way.
He left two senior right backs on the bench for the game at Espanyol and gave Jose Angel Carmona a start. The 20-year-old scored twice and set-up one before going off exhausted in the 3-2 win.
Sevilla have relied for years on Monchi’s clever signings. Now it’s time for the youngsters to shine under their defiant coach.
Julen Lopetegui made some bold calls over the weekend and they paid off for Sevilla
7. Betis winning Spain’s other league
Unai Emery wore that pained expression that we’ve seen before when all the fine planning falls down because of missed chances and a defensive error.
Villarreal were excellent in the showdown between the two best ‘other’ teams in Spain but it was wily Manuel Pellegrini’s Betis side who became the first team this season to score against Villarreal, and took the three points to go third.
Manuel Pellegrini saw his Real Betis side overcome Villarreal on the weekend
8. Valencia are sometimes good, sometimes not so good
Okay so that’s not quite what Gennaro Gattuso famously said when he was OFI Crete coach but it’s certainly true of his current side.
Valencia beat Getafe 5-1 last week but succumbed 2-1 to Rayo Vallecano on Saturday: it’s going to be an up and down season at Mestalla.
Gennaro Gattuso’s side have been good at times this season, but were below-par on Saturday
9. Antoine Griezmann has never been so popular
Much loved at Real Sociedad, not all Atletico Madrid fans have always been fully on Griezmann’s side but his half hour shifts are making him something of a cult hero.
For the fifth time this season he came on just after the hour mark at the weekend – and all so Atletico Madrid are not obliged to buy him for €40m in the summer.
They will still want him but at a much reduced fee and saving the club money and performing well as a super sub is winning hearts and minds at the Metropolitano. How long he puts up with it with a smile on his face is another matter.
Antoine Griezmann’s cameo appearances are making him a cult hero at Atletico Madrid
10. Valverde is special
Take your pick. You can have Real Madrid’s midfielder Fede, who scored the goal of the weekend running from midway inside his own half to the edge of the penalty area before burying a left foot shot.
Or you can have Athletic Bilbao’s mild-mannered, attention avoiding coach Ernesto, who has the Basques up to fifth with a thumping win over Elche.
Both the Uruguayan international and the former Barça league winning coach are very good at what they do.
Fede Valverde is continuing to go from strength to strength at Real Madrid
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