Fri, 22 Oct 2021

MADRID, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- The seventh round of games in LaLiga saw Real Madrid were held at home by Villarreal, FC Barcelona were able to smile again and Atletico Madrid's problems in front of goal continued for another week. Here are some things we learned this weekend in LaLiga:

1. Fati helps Barca smile again

Ansu Fati was back in action for FC Barcelona on Sunday almost a year after suffering a knee injury, which needed four operations to recover from. The 18-year-old striker wasn't just back, he was back with a goal as Barca beat a disappointing Levante 3-0 to ease the pressure on Ronald Koeman, whose job could have been in danger in case of a defeat.

Barca got a perfect start with two goals in the first 15 minutes to calm nerves, and never looked back after that.

Fati had been touted as a 'new Messi' after bursting into the first team two years ago, and his loss has been a major handicap for Barca in recent months. Koeman is realistic, but must hope he will help ease his problems.

2. Villarreal keep Real Madrid at bay

Unai Emery's Villarreal took a well-deserved point from their visit to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Saturday night after keeping Real Madrid at arm's length for much of the encounter.

Emery packed his midfield against Real Madrid and closed off their lines of attack, perhaps highlighting that although players such as Casemiro, Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavigna have fantastic motors, with Luka Modric looking tired and without Toni Kroos, Madrid sometimes have a problem feeding decisive players such as Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr.

Carlo Ancelotti used Valverde as a makeshift right back on Saturday, perhaps showing a lack of faith in Lucas Vazquez to cover for the injured Dani Carvajal, and that lessened Valverde's impact on the game.

3. Atletico's troubles continue

These are worrying times for reigning champions Atletico Madrid, who suffered a surprise defeat away to Alaves on Saturday afternoon.

Alaves had lost all five of their games this season, and Atletico were expected to inflict defeat No. 6. But after Victor Laguardia headed the home side in front, Atletico once again failed to create chances they needed.

It's hard to explain how a team containing players such as Luis Suarez, Yannick Carrasco, Rodrigo de Paul, Angel Correa and Marcos Llorente should have failed to score in four of its last five games, but Diego Simeone will probably be glad to see midfielder Koke back for Tuesday's visit to AC Milan in the Champions League.

4. Control the order of the day in Mestalla

Although it's well known that Valencia boss Jose Bordalas and Athletic Club Bilbao's Marcelino Garcia Toral (former Valencia coach) don't see eye to eye, they share a similar footballing philosophy of trying to make the best of what they have in their squads.

Athletic have a rock-solid defense and an organized midfield that lacks creativity, and they look to control the ball, limit the spaces available to their rivals and make full use of set pieces, while Valencia also look to keep things tight while using pace down the wings.

It looked as if Inigo Martinez's header from a set piece would see Marcelino's tactics rewarded, but a 95th-minute goal saved the day for Valencia in a tactical game between two well-balanced sides.

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