10 things we learned this week in LaLiga Santander

What has been going on in LaLiga this past week? Here are 10 of the top stories, from Raphinha’s good form to the latest developments in the very tight relegation battle

(Football news) Several players are in incredible form right now in LaLiga Santander, such as Raphinha, Enes Ünal and Éder Militão. They all feature in the below talking points, while the rest of past week’s top storylines are discussed too.

This could be the most thrilling relegation battle in years

There are so many clubs who face the threat of relegation this season, which means that the battle to avoid the drop should be thrilling. As things stand, just three points separate Sevilla FC in 13th from UD Almería in 19th. Real Valladolid, RCD Espanyol, Cádiz CF, Valencia CF and Getafe CF are all in there too, so there will be relegation six-pointers almost every week from now until the end of the campaign.

Mestalla and Baraja lift Valencia CF out of the relegation zone

Valencia CF are currently just outside the relegation zone, thanks to their much-needed 1-0 victory over CA Osasuna on Saturday. That was their second 1-0 home win in a row, with the Mestalla crowd and the leadership of new coach Rubén Baraja helping Los Che to turn their fortunes around.

Raphinha has stepped up in Dembélé’s absence

FC Barcelona are still very much on track to win the LaLiga Santander title, as they have maintained their nine-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of the standings thank to a hard-fought 1-0 win in Bilbao on Sunday night. The only goal of that victory over Athletic Club was scored by Raphinha, who has stepped up during Ousmane Dembélé’s injury absence, scoring four goals in his past seven league games.

Ünal is one of Europe’s most in-form strikers

Getafe CF are inside the relegation zone right now, but Los Azulones have reason for optimism because they have one of Europe’s most in-form strikers leading their line in Enes Ünal. The Turkey international has already scored eight league goals in 2023, the joint-fourth-most of all players across Europe’s top five leagues. He confidently dispatched two penalties to continue his fine run of scoring form in a 2-2 draw with Cádiz CF on Friday.

Aspas wants a fifth Zarra Trophy

The Zarra Trophy is awarded each year to the top Spanish goalscorer of the LaLiga Santander season and Iago Aspas has already won it four times, the same number as David Villa and the joint-most of anyone. It’s clear that the RC Celta man wants to break that deadlock and his brace in a 3-0 win over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday pulled Aspas to within just one goal of current leader Joselu, who has 12 goals so far.

Militão is making a difference in both penalty areas

Carlo Ancelotti recently claimed that Éder Militão is the best centre-back in the world right now and the Brazilian is living up to that description with his recent performances. The 25-year-old has been in great form for Real Madrid and this week he was also decisive at the other end of the pitch, scoring the go-ahead goal in Los Blancos’ 3-1 win over RCD Espanyol. That was his fourth league goal this term, making this his best ever scoring season.

Real Sociedad are looking over their shoulders

Just a few weeks ago, it seemed like Real Sociedad were certain to finish inside the top four and qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2013. However, a run of just one win across their past seven in LaLiga Santander means that La Real are now looking over their shoulders and in need of another three-point haul soon.

Diego Rico is staying at Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad had something to celebrate this past week as they announced a contract extension, with left-back Diego Rico signing a new deal to stay at the Basque club until the summer of 2025. He has really impressed since arriving from Bournemouth in 2021 and the club want to keep this good thing going.

Real Betis are going to have one of the best stadiums in Europe

Real Betis’ Estadio Benito Villamarín is already very impressive, but the club are looking to make it an even more modern venue and this week announced an international competition in architecture for their new stadium project, which is one of the foundations of the Real Betis Strategic Plan 2022-2026. They’ll pick from the best in the business, before construction work is scheduled to start in June of 2024.

Simeone enjoys a special celebration

After Diego Simeone became the man with the most matches coached in Atlético de Madrid history, with 613, the club held a special celebration for the Argentine at the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano. There, Simeone spoke about his experiences during his time as coach, while he was joined by current and former players for this tribute.

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